A Note From Our Mayors
Author: David Bennett & Lisa Sulka | Photographer: Krisztian Lonyai
A Note from David Bennett
Take a step
Once again, there is something I would like you to do. I wouldn’t ask you to do it if I were not willing to do it myself. And I wasn’t willing to do it myself, but I was surely eager to do it with my friend, Alex Brown. Last year it happened, and my gratitude and enthusiasm for it has continued to this day. What is it? One Island. One Community. Consider this your invitation to a Hilton Head Island-sized Fourth of July picnic. It’s free of charge. What can you do? You can accept my invitation. And you can take some steps.
Step number one is to step out. Likely, you’ve been doing this with the beautiful Lowcountry spring season we’ve enjoyed. I’ve seen you engaged in funerals and fundraisers, festivals and fiestas, sporting events and supporting neighbors. You’ve been there. Now I’m asking you to step out of your comfort zone and meet people in your greater community you may never have met elsewhere.
Step number two is to step in. Meeting new people, I know you will take steps toward a better understanding of your fellow Hilton Head Islanders. While you celebrate this quintessential American holiday with them, certainly you’ll see the immeasurable value of our diversity, and you’ll consider the potential multiplier effect of being each other’s advocates.
Step number three is to step together. I’m convinced that essential components of our true identity exist in the knowledge of our history, the appreciation of our culture and the relationships of our people. If we continue to discover and capture this identity, we may confidently step together into a worthy future.
One of the first steps taken by the new United States Congress in 1776 was appointing a committee to create a seal for our nation. The motto suggested and adopted was e pluribus unum, or from the many, one. It remains, to this day, both a fitting description and a noble and lofty endeavor. One historic use of the phrase was on the annual volume of the Gentleman’s Magazine. Placed near a picture of a bouquet of different flowers gathered together, writers suggest the symbolism is the beauty of individuals in unity. Long before this periodical, Cicero relied upon the work of Pythagoras in his De Officiis, when he discussed the bonds of family and society. “When each person loves the other as much as himself, it makes one out of many, unus fiat ex pluribus, as Pythagoras wishes things to be in friendship.” (Cicero, Marcus Tullius. De Officiis. Liber I, Caput XVII.)
Because we Hilton Head Islanders are discussing, dissecting and delving into so many conversations and initiatives, we need to take these steps. So step out, step in, step together and enjoy a Fourth of July picnic as One Island. One Community. Or should I say One Island Community. Historic Honey Horn. 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
A Note from Lisa Sulka
Our Caring Community
I wanted to share a couple of stories with my readers this month on why Bluffton is such a loving, caring community. First was our meeting Miss Norma (of Facebook’s “Driving Miss Norma” fame). Thanks to Charlie Clarke of the HHI/Bluffton Chamber of Commerce, I received a call to ask if I wanted to stop by the St Patrick’s Day Parade to meet this woman who is on a cross country trip with her family. It only took a “hello” from her, and I knew we would be instant friends.
After her ride in the parade, I invited her to visit Bluffton and meet the Clydesdale horses. She ended up staying in our area for a few weeks, and from the Clydesdales, to a German beer at our local Fat Patties, she quickly became an honorary Blufftonian.
Before she left, she met us at Dubois Park and planted a tree in memory of her husband; and if you go by the park, you will see the redbud along with a sign highlighting this gift to our town. Please take a minute and check Miss Norma’s Facebook page, as you will see the reasons for her travels. Her story is quite inspiring, and I hope we will remain friends from afar, as she will be in the prayers of all who have met her along the way.
The second story is a sad one, but shows the amount of love this town has for its own. It focuses on two young ladies, Emma Dewey and Grace Sulak. We all have been glued to the news this past month to get the latest reports on this accident, the health of Emma and the loss of Grace. I knew of these young ladies from their athleticism on the cross country and track fields at Bluffton High. But like thousands of other Blufftonians, I have not met either of them. Our Bluffton community has taken these two families in their loving arms, in both prayer and support. From attending Grace Sulak’s vigil and funeral service with hundreds of others, to watching the video, over and over (on Facebook), of Emma’s first miracle steps, Bluffton is in support mode for these two families. These families continue to need our comfort, so please look at the gofundme.com pages set up for each family.
Whether you are a visitor or a resident, the love from our town is contagious. We welcome new faces and embrace our neighbors, both in good times and bad. I couldn’t be more proud to be your mayor, but more important, to call Bluffton my home.