VIP Destin Magazine - August 2020

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events 13 Red Bar Grand Re-Opening 16 Destin Rotary Club Annual Installation 19 Paws at Subaru 29 Okaloosa Island Summer Fireworks 35 Hydroflight Monday 42 Movies on the Beach 47 Cirque du HarborWalk 57 K9s for Warriors 62 Concerts in the Villiage 71 7th Annual Great American Cookout

business profiles 60 Rodos Realty Partners

departments 22 26 32 54 64 67 74

#trending Swizzle Adventure Out May We Suggest Give Care Share Locale I Am Destin

features 44 Jason & Brittney Aldean A luxury, celebrity-level experience right here on the Emerald Coast.

50 Resort Cocktails Relax with some of the best cocktail recipes Destin resorts have to offer.


on the cover !"#$%&$'(&!()*+", ,%-"-./!0%1#21 !"#$$#%&#$'()*$ !"#$%&#'()!*+

!"#$%&'() Greg Alexander

6(&%21() Priscilla Atkins

*&&+,%-.(/!"#$%&'() Verla Price

7+1.)%#".%12/8)%.()&9 !'+.+2)-:'()& Greg Alexander Steve Barber Zhalman Harris Shanna Magnuson Verla Price Anna Stockton

0-1-2%12/34%.+) Steve Barber !)+4",.%+1/34%.+) Jessica GraĂąa *45().%&%12 Steve Barber Verla Price Jeff Sarault

;<!/=+"14() Jeff Watson

!"#$%&'()&/*&&%&.-1. Anna Stockton August 2020 | 9

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!"##"$%&$'(%#)"%*+,#'$ What a unique summer it has been so far. The countdown now begins to Labor Day and the official end of summer. However, many schools are pushed back for a later start and our tourists will be with us longer this year, continuing to support our local Happy Newwarm Year! weather As we sayand goodbye economy. With lots of guests in to 2018 and welcome 2019, we celebrate town, we introduce our August Issue as our annual the past year and salute the new year. Spa Our & Resort Issue. cover Destin speaks volumes with January issueOur celebrates a magical vision ofVIP Misty the Magazine Mermaid in a local area weddings. Destin hasgrotto become a vital resource for and brides resort soaking up the sun water and all the seeking the current wedding trends Emerald Coast has to offer.

letter from the editor

Art Wave, a modern and sophisticated


!"#$%&'() !"#!$%&#'%()#" photo by Steve Mangum

that make our area the destination-

In wedding this issuemecca be sure notbecome. to missWith our monthly it has the arrival offeatures 2019, wesuch eagerly look forward department as Give Care Share where to signature winter events along the we spotlight the Emerald Coast Foundation and we Emerald Coast. Cultural activities, highlight the easy classic cocktail, the Gin Rickey, fun festivals, lecture series, athletic in Swizzle. In Adventure Out you will see Misty the events, and weddings. There’s always Mermaid in her local environment, something happening on our sugar-which is also just white Here’s what’s on the down the shores. street from many ofup you, and learn her story Emerald Coast… January kicks off with as our beautiful cover image. as you see why she was an obvious selection


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Take a special look at ourartists, I Am sipping Destin feature where you get to know community staple, *23()-%&%01 bazaar celebrating local photo by Scott Schaeffler and shopping at from Bubbly Baytowne, Lockwood Wernet Destin Water Users. In our Resort Profile we learn about the recent0#/3$4%(!54 Jason #&,6%0#/3$(#/3#"&%() and Destin Desserts benefi ting the Girl Aldean video shoot where the Henderson Park Inn was the star of the show, and in our newest Scouts of the Florida Panhandle, just to feature, we share a story you don’t want to miss out on where two modern moms&(0%+).2(&%10() have name#trending, a few. +",.-,&&%$%/7,(. launched a savvy Southern podcast. Couples are creating memories every day with weddings on the Emerald

2(&%10() Our August features virtual Theissues live events are following social distancing Coast. Ourissue January issue islive oneand of the most events. anticipated of the year with a .3#,&%$4%-),%"4,) concentration on all things wedding related in theoff area. Many of our guidelines and some attendees are proud to show their masks foradvertisers the camera while others&%-#8$"%-3%&& insist are wedding based businesses. Be sure to check out wedding editorials from our on taking it off long enough for a smile and a click. At virtual events, many are still learning the advertisers. ,+0-)%#"-%01 best way to strike a pose for our cameras. 4)%-()&5!'+-+1)*!'()&

Swizzle features Ice Champagne which changes champagne sipping as you

4%"8$%39 Weknow loveit, seeing support the events and causes it such us and I Destin Am Destin completes our Wedding issue that withmake a spotlight ona special place. Invite !"#!$%&#'%()#" Destin event planner andso restaurateur, Nicki Cox. to cover your special event that we may share them in the pages of an upcoming issue. 1#($)##0

Takehappy time to the Destin’s New Yearfirst activities, get out andmagazine. enjoy all the We are toenjoy bringallyou monthly social Enjoy your August issue of .3%((%$4%!(5.9( winter events our area has to offer. Enjoy your January issue of VIP Destin -95"/(#8$45""%8 VIP Destin Magazine…and we look forward to seeing you again next month. 63%&4%($3%"",.

Magazine…and we look forward to seeing you again next month. Cheers!


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A Special Thanks to our 2018 Cover Reveal Sponsor


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For Light Lovers Only Forevermark Black Label Collection Five shapes, each cut with supreme symmetry to unleash the dazzling light of a Forevermark diamond. Beautiful. Rare. Responsibly Sourced.


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VIP Destin at The Red Bar

Grand Re-Opening photos & story by Verla Price


he Red Bar in Grayton Beach held their grand reopening on July 15 after a devastating fire destroyed the iconic, original structure in February of 2019. The partners and brothers vowed to rebuild, and the groundbreaking on the new Red Bar came in October of 2019. Just nine months later, the doors opened to great fanfare. Built on the original site, the new Red Bar touts the same basic layout with expanded patios, the same fun atmosphere, and once again, the decor revolves around family collectibles. Most importantly, the fantastic food you’ve come to expect from this Grayton Beach staple is back. Seating was staggered due to social distancing rules resulting in some patrons waiting as long as two hours. No one seemed to mind as locals and tourists alike shared stories of a visit to the Red Bar before the fire. Olie and Philippe Petit greeted people thanking them for the continued support. Olie noted, ”After standing here just 18 months ago bewildered and fi lled with fear, it was an unbelievable feeling to see the Red Bar open and fi lled with people. We faced many uncertainties, but with help from family, friends, and the tremendous support of Grayton Beach community leaders and neighbors, we are blessed to be back in business.” Red Bar is open for lunch 11-3 and dinner 4:30-10 every day in Grayton Beach. Park in the county parking lot 100 yards north of Scenic 30A on Hwy 283 and take the shuttle to see the new Red Bar.

Rene Endres & Olie Petit

Lt. Ryan Brown & Sgt. Bobby Hoke

Yancey Griffith & Luke Mango

Lexie Gabbard & Lisa Gabbard

Dené Davzat, Melissa Cormier, Tania Arnaud & Sonia Arnaud August 2020 | 13

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VIP Destin at The Red Bar Grand Re-Opening

Diane & Harold Nobles

Shayne Kavanaugh & Ansley Kavanaugh

Wyatt, Ollie Mae, Charlotte & Rick Barnett

Jude & Austin Simpson

Ann Moore, Curry, Brogan & Jess Bennett

Cody Endres & Izzy Petit

Maggie Fleming, Grace Hiers, Lillie Griffith & Macie Scaini 14

Olie Petit & Philippe Petit

Pam Sutton & Michelle Miller

Reilly Forbes, Hallie Azar, Morgan Cooke & Catherine Gray


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VIP Destin at The Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village

!"#$%&' ()$*+,'-./0' 1&&/*.' 2&#$*..*$%)& Trevor & Lane Redding

Julie & Les Porterfield

photos by Zhalman Harris story by Steve Barber


t was a different event this year on Tuesday, June 30 for the Destin Rotary Drop the Mike/Installation Dinner.In order for the members to respect social distancing the event took place on the stage at The Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village to protect from potential rain and to restrict attendance for the new normal of 2020. The casual event enjoyed food provided by CafĂŠ Rico and Stanley Street Treats and drinks by Kumbi Keg. The induction ceremony was performed by District Governor Jan Pooley. Of the 48 Rotarians in attendance recognition was given to outgoing President John Toombs, incoming Clayton Hicks, Treasurer Nellie Schlachter, Secretary Wayne Bernheisel, and International Grants chair and Rotarian of the Year Zhalman Harris. Rotary is a service organization representing a diverse group of professional men and women united to provide humanitarian service, encourage high ethical standards in all vocations, and help build peace and goodwill in the world. The goal of The Rotary Club of Destin is to further education and eradicate hunger.

John & Ange Toombs

Amy & Brooke O’keefe 16

Gail & John Pelto

Greg & Joce Durette

Bryan & Kishia Osborn

Kevin & Tammie Bowyer


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Julie Porterfield, Lori Smith & Robin Hicks

John Toombs, Brooke O’keefe & Clayton Hicks

!"#$%&'()*"(+#,(-&#,.(/, 850.650.8511

DESTIN FLOORING AMERICA 12889 Emerald Coast Parkway Suite 113B ∑ Miramar Beach, FL Dave & Suzanne Morrow


DESTIN FLOORING AMERICA 2254 South Ferdon Boulevard Crestview, FL

Derek Hill & Cris Ponce

de s t in flo oring americades tin. com August 2020 | 17

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VIP Destin at Subaru Fort Walton Beach

!"#$%&' $()&*( Micah Peterson & Sheridan Baker

photos & story by Steve Barber


Tori Jones with Scarlett

Idalis Lovano with Lily

ubaru Fort Walton Beach hosted a monthly PAWS adoption event at their location on Hollywood Boulevard. The partnership with the PAWS organization is near and dear to their hearts and they love to help find all of these animals a loving home. Subaru Fort Walton Beach respected social distancing during the event by having masks and face shields available. The monthly event helps guests visit with animals to find their FUR-ever friend. The Panhandle Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) is a private, 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that handles more than 9,000 animals annually. For more information visit

Katie Shephard & Lorraine Whetstone with Melrose

Kha Xiong & Rich Minor with Scarlett

Mike Benitez with Maxie August 2020 | 19

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VIP Destin at Paws at Subaru

Jeremy Hansen with Buddy

Meghan Bauman with Leo

Aliyah & Taya Tarolli, Kiara Watson with Kona

Cathy Clark & Lucas Kisela with Smokey

Draper & Jada DeLancey

Dana Chamberlin with Sierra 20

Erica Jackson & Burley White

Darlene Dzikowski & Nicole Fife

Jeff Westrich & Cory Johnson


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hether you are currently a podcast listener or not, you must immediately subscribe to Say it Southern (finish this article first, but seriously – then go subscribe). With over 700,000 podcasts out there, finding a favorite can be overwhelming. With Say It Southern, you will leave inspired, encouraged, and maybe even have a southern accent. Say it Southern is a place to join real, warm conversation, as if you were sitting together on the back porch. Say it Southern tells the stories that matter from the creators and curators of the beautiful South. Say it Southern was co-founded and is co-hosted by two of the savviest Southern sweethearts you will ever meet. Courtney Goolsby and Sarah Smith are mothers, doers, and dreamers who want to do good, live well, and leave their mark – and always find a reason to celebrate. Plato said, “Necessity is the mother of invention,” and that was the case for starting Say It Southern. As Sarah Stone Smith – former Bachelor Season 8 “winner” was approaching her 40th birthday, she wanted a new challenge. She described, “I felt like this was the perfect time for me to do and create something I was passionate about, something for me. I had just started listening to podcasts and was searching for podcasts about the people and places of the South. I couldn’t find one I liked so I thought, I’ll start one of my own. I’ll get to meet people and hear stories from all over. But I knew I couldn’t do it alone. I needed someone as passionate as I was about creating something they could be proud of, who would work hard and hold me accountable. I immediately thought of Courtney. She is smart, funny, and real. I was always drawn to her. She is a Christian woman that loves and values family

but also knows and shares that life is not always easy. Being a good mother, wife, sister, friend is tough and she is open about sharing that with others. When I told her about my crazy idea she was ALL in and the rest is history.” The duo had no clue how to create a podcast but they figured it out, and now, it has become something they are proud of with listeners all over the world, 7% in Australia, oddly enough! With thousands of downloads they receive DMs thanking them for doing this- “your work means something, keep on keeping on.” So that’s what they plan to do. Their goal was to shine a light on all the inspiring, one of a kind stories of the movers, shakers, and tastemakers of the South. They wanted to celebrate their successes, learn from their failures and be encouraged by the journey, and Courtney and Sarah have done exactly that in just over a year with no sign of slowing down. Their guests are people and products they love and want to learn more about. Sometimes potential guests reach out to them but most of the time they curate them organically. We all know the South has interesting people and culture. That fact brings lots of color, comedy, and even tears to Say It Southern. When asking Courtney about a favorite episode she didn’t have an answer, and Courtney always has an answer! She finally claimed, “It’s really hard to say- Do you pick the lawyer turned East Tennessee Moonshiner? The girl who called 911 to enter her prize pie in county fair only to then be included on Oprah’s favorite things list? The mother who lost her son in a drowning accident and has been advocating for water safety in Washington, on the Today Showlobbying for more education about drownings... it’s too had to pick a

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single one. And it makes the South, the South. We have a grit about us. If we can’t find a way, we make one. Each story becomes my new favorite story.” As they continue their journey, they plan on doing more public speaking and events for women across the South. Both women love speaking to crowds, sharing their passion and successes they have achieved. But most of all they love meeting people and connecting

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to Southerners from all over. Each listener, man or woman, Southern or not, will be magnetized by these beautiful souls and their special gift of engaging the listeners and helping to promote the stories and accomplishments of each of their guests. And if you even think about stopping before an episode ends – don’t, because they finish each one with their self-conceived “Popcorn Round.”

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Your Emerald Coast Cosmetic Destination photos & story provided by Destin Plastic Surgery


Destin Plastic Surgery is undergoing its own self-improvement and enhancement!

ost people do not know that the Destin Plastic Surgery building was originally designed to be a 100% plastic surgery facility. Dr. Burden spent years visiting other facilities around the country and studying ambulatory surgical centers. In fact, he is the only person in the area who has completed accredited course work on ambulatory surgical centers. The Destin Plastic Surgery Center plans were submitted to the state by Dr. Burden and the work began. After Dr. Burden first broke ground on the Destin Plastic Surgery facility, other surgeons inquired about joining him and wanted to perform their surgery at the facility. They wanted to be part of an ambulatory surgery center that was striving to be a center of excellence. The surgery center part of the building on the first floor was retrofitted to accommodate general surgery, orthopedic surgery, ophthalmology, and gastroenterology in addition to Plastic Surgery. The center would become known as the Destin Surgery Center. The second floor remained Destin Plastic Surgery’s offices and skin care center. As the years passed, the facility grew as did the number of surgeons utilizing the facility. The surgery center was expanded in 2015 to add 24

additional operating room and exam room space, as well as, office and conference room space. At that time, the building expansion was maximized to the building code restrictions. Since that time, the demand for surgery from physicians and patients continued to grow. Destin Plastic Surgery and the Destin Surgery Center became “victims� of their own success. With no ability to further expand the facility, it was decided that the Destin Surgery Center would move operations to another site and Destin Plastic Surgery would expand into the entire building. The move of the Destin Surgery Center business leaves a fully accredited surgical facility


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available for Destin Plastic Surgery as it was originally designed. This will allow Destin Plastic Surgery to utilize three operating rooms and outfit the entire facility for plastic surgery only. Destin Plastic Surgery will expand into the entire building and add many services to our patients and the community! Dr. Burden considers this a great accomplishment as no other plastic surgery center of excellence exists in the region. Only plastic surgery patients will be in the accredited Surgery Center. This will provide enhanced privacy and specialization of the facility. Several areas will be renovated for new treatments. First, a pharmacy will be added to serve the Destin Plastic Surgery patients and provide further anonymity for our patients. This pharmacy will be conveniently located in the same building as the surgery center and the patient’s treatment areas. We expect this to be extremely popular with our patients. Second, an IV hydration center for health enhancement will added to the facility. Many of our patients are seeking additional therapies that can enhancement their overall well-being. An IV therapy center for intravenous medications will also be added. Finally, the Destin Plastic Surgery conference/teaching center will be expanded. Dr. Burden has been on faculty and has been a trainer for several devices and surgical techniques. Surgeons wanting to learn advanced surgical and injection techniques will be able to attend sessions more frequently.. The physicians, paramedical personnel, and staff of Destin Plastic Surgery are excited to be expanding into the whole facility and look forward to upcoming enhancements much like our patients look forward to and enjoy their enhancements!

Award-Winning Author Respected worldwide as a plastic surgery innovator and authority in endoscopic minimalincision endoscopic techniques and fat grafting, Dr. Burden shares his insights, experience, and knowledge with women considering Facial Surgery, Breast Augmentation or the Brazilian Butt Lift in these books all organized in a straightforward Q & A style.

4485 Furling Ln • Destin, FL 32541 (850) 654-1194 | August 2020 | 25

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story by Greg Alexander


his summer, more than ever, many folks are staying home and hosting small porch parties and intimate, outdoor gatherings with close friends. One thing that always makes gatherings complete is a perfect cocktail. When it is an easy one with an exhilarating quench, both you and your guests will be winners. At the top of any cocktail lover’s summer drink list should be the superbly refreshing Gin Rickey. A Gin Rickey is pretty much a “gin and soda” with a solid dose of lime juice. Since they are incredibly thirst-quenching, you can hydrate and get a good dose of vitamin C as a bonus. Gin Rickey’s are easy to mix (and drink), while the low calorie and carb factor makes it an even more perfect cocktail. Most importantly, the gin is not covered up with other flavors, but enhanced by the citrus. I am not hating on any vodka soda lovers, but this cocktail is all about taste as the botanicals in the gin give it depth and variation, allowing you to enjoy some of the more subtle flavors in your gin of choice. Right now, I am crushing on Uncle Val’s Botanical Gin that is even satisfying on the rocks. It has undertones of sage and juniper with a spicy lavender finish softened by coolness of cucumber, each providing their own individual sensations. Like many, I had never had the pleasure of trying a Gin Rickey until recently attending one of those aforementioned porch parties. My host, Brad, who is a retina surgeon by profession, spent some time behind a bar during his formative years (and a lot on the other side of it, too). When he offered a slew of concoctions from his patio bar, the Gin Rickey being one, I asked what was in it and he just said, “Let me show you.” It was the perfect answer to the gentle summer evening, and I have easily repeated that recipe many times since then, and just as my friend expressed, fresh lime juice is key. The Gin Rickey is one of the few classic cocktails whose origin isn’t muddled by history as it was named after Joe Rickey, a late 19th century lobbyist who lived in Washington, D.C. Rickey instructed a local bartender to build a Bourbon Rickey, and with that, a proud line of cocktails was born. Soon, people were customizing the drink to their liking with the Gin Rickey eventually becoming the most popular of all Rickeys.


With the hot, muggy weather, it is naturally fitting to explore this classic summertime cooler to end your day with a highball glass in hand. Every year as the mercury rises, this gentle concoction will satisfy even those who declare they don’t like gin.


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MAKES 1 DRINK !"#$%&!%"'( • 1 1/2 – 2 oz gin of choice (I am currently fond of Uncle Val’s Botanical) • Juice of ½ a lime • 4-6 oz carbonated water (Go with a mineral water for more flavor than a seltzer. I am currently loving Topo Chico) &!$%)'!*"( Fill a tall glass with ice. Seriously, fi ll it all the way. The more ice, the quicker the chill down and the less dilution overall. Using less ice will just give you a not-that-cold, watered down tasting drink. Pour the gin and lime juice over the ice and give it a stir. Top with your carbonated water of choice, stir gently, and enjoy! Garnish with a lime wheel and mint or other herbs that compliment your gin, if desired.

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VIP Destin at The Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island

!"##$%& '(%$)*%+, photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

Jacob Capozella & Jacob Rink

Evan Autin & Ainsleigh Armond

Dominic Pyle & Chrystal Obbink

Carolyn & Mary Fort


he Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island started their summer fireworks, and true to what they say, “make your Wednesday’s Boom!” Each Wednesday through August 12 at 9:00pm, the pier lights up with fireworks you can see right from The Boardwalk restaurants. Families, couples, and friends gathered on the beaches to play volleyball, play at the park, throw down a blanket on the beach, or stop in for delicious food and live music on the stage. Although there were quite a few people enjoying the beautiful evening, The Boardwalk made sure to accommodate and continue enhanced safety and sanitation protocols with a spaced-out dining experience outdoors. If you’re looking for a family friendly event, or a date night out- the Okaloosa Island Fireworks is a great location to enjoy some time by the water, music, and dinner. Hosted by The Boardwalk, The Crab Trap, Floyd’s Shrimp House, The Island Ft. Walton Destin by Hotel RL, Rockin Tacos Grill & Tequila Bar, Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar, Coca Cola, and VIP Destin Magazine as sponsorsthere are options for whatever you’re in the mood for on a Wednesday night!

Krystal & Mark Smith

Doreen & Mark Johnson

Kristy & Ashlee Kilchrist

Carolyn Parrish, Rebecca Woytek, Faith Warner & Julie Proctor August 2020 | 29

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VIP Destin at Summer Fireworks

Maddie Bryan & Chris Fort

Tami Woytek, Jessica Parrish & Jennifer Warner

Kisten & Dani Miller

Jilly, Taylor & Morgan Shaw, Phyllis Kulbis 30

Ryan Bentley & Brooke Grace

Brittany Williamson & Breanna Theriot

AJ & Zeke Boyd, Jeneele Lawrence & McKenna Robbins

Alison Walker & Justin Foles

CJ Greene & Jordan Bauman

Amy, Ashley & Terry West


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photos by Shanna Manguson | story by Morgan Meszaros


isty, the resident mermaid at The Island Ft. Walton Beach by Hotel RL, has made a splash on Okaloosa Island. For the past three years, Misty has been making kid’s dreams come true as she moves with grace through the iconic Grotto Pool. During summer, she spends Tuesdays, Saturdays, and Sundays showing off her authentic aqua blue tail, ornate top and beautiful, long blonde hair adorned with a crown of seashells. Although, she doesn’t have much time for swimming - as she’s become quite busy meeting and greeting with families, and smiling for pictures while parents line up to capture their children’s faces in absolute awe of her magic and beauty. Misty has met friends and families from all over the nation, from as far away as Alaska. Misty returned to her home at The Island’s Grotto pool in March, but her time with the kids this spring was cut short when The Island


had to temporarily close due to the COVID-19 quarantine. With kids stuck at home and disappointed that they wouldn’t get the chance to meet Misty, The Island decided to create the “Mermaid Tails” segment to bring Misty to them virtually and brighten their days. Kids that expected to be traveling to the beach for spring break were now learning to adjust to online schooling, utilizing Mermaid Tails in that transition. Every Monday, Misty read a beach-themed children’s book so that the kids could tune in and bring the beach to their homes. Parents were excited to be able to add Mermaid Tails to their kid’s weekly “lesson plans” too. Mermaid Tails was a viral hit, receiving hundreds of thousands of views on Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube. Once the beaches were reopened, The Island wanted to make sure children from all over could still meet and talk to Misty. So they created the “Mermaid Minute” and asked their social media followers to submit all of their children’s questions for Misty through comments and direct messages. As expected, the kids came up with wildly entertaining and unique questions including if mermaids can eat ice cream underwater or if they have underwater playgrounds. Misty will continue the Mermaid Minute every Monday, so kids can continue to get their quirky questions answered. The videos can be found on The Island Instagram, Facebook, and Youtube. Parents can continue to submit their children’s questions at any time. For kids who want to take home a special memory of Misty, they can visit the Island Market located in the lobby to purchase Misty’s very own book, The Missing Tiara. It tells the story of how Misty and her magical friends under the sea were able to find her missing tiara and learn a valuable lesson about inclusion and kindness. Kids can get their copy signed by Misty any time they see her at the Grotto Pool. Children can also read along with Misty via the video on The Island website. Established in 1966, The Island has been a locally-known historical venue that helped celebrate countless weddings, anniversaries, family reunions, and more. Built by Fred E. Tolbert, Jr., an Okaloosa county native, the property has close ties and fond memories with many area locals. After the recent completion of a $15 million propertywide renovation in April 2020, The Island has truly been revived as Okaloosa Island’s iconic waterfront resort. With Misty’s newfound social media fame, many locals in the community have inquired about the chance to experience her magic. After Labor Day, The Island will unveil the opportunity for local families to book special poolside birthday parties and events featuring Misty. For more information, visit TheIslandFL. com and follow The Island Ft. Walton Destin by Hotel RL on Facebook and Instagram.


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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne Wharf

Hyrdroflight Monday photos & story by Shanna Magnuson

Alan Meyers & Leighann Elliott


yrdrofl ight Monday at The Village of Baytowne Wharf was a big hit. Through the summer, Ben Merrell, Pro Hyrdrofl ight Athlete who competes world wide, performs at 6:30 PM and 8:30 PM right in the lake at the Wharf. He soars through the skies, fl ips, turns, and even gives a few high fives while on his Flyboard to show you just a bit of what he can do. With a great view, no matter if you’re on either bridge or along the fence, all the little ones can see, too. He even has music just for his fl ips and turns and glow sticks that can add some extra magic to the show. Not just for kids, this event is perfect for adults, too. The Village of Baytowne Wharf is a great place to be, and they’re taking all precautions to have a safe and clean environment. Wide open spaces and plenty of room to spread out even during the show. With the hot days, the cooler evenings out make for a perfect family evening. Megan Flannagan & Kevin Leary

Dustin & Macey Smith

Ben Merrell

Jared & Jessica Joiner

Stacy Wisman, Ava Nisley, Alex Poll, Megan Poll, Barbara Holland, Mark Holland & Alli Poll August 2020 | 35

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VIP Destin at Hydroflight Monday

Joe & Isaac Ealy

Jack Orem, Mattie Pelletier, Maggie Cartwright & Joe Pelletier

Bob, Paula & Caden Link

Casey Russell & Ethan Wasserman

Mary Jones, Kevin Goss & Debbie Kruse 36

Evette, Evan & Bryan Rowell

Jodi & Jason Harden

Levi & Lindsey Addison

Morgan Bowers, Sean Bowers & Loribelle Mira


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re you ready to elevate your social lifestyle, get active and meet new people that have the same likes and interest as you? If so, the Clubs of Sandestin are where you need to be. From private, members-only clubs, such as the Burnt Pine Golf Club to The Beach Club and the Resort Club (reserved for Sandestin owners) we have everything to fit your needs. Annual memberships for the public can be obtained at the Golf Club, Burnt Pine, Tennis Club and the Fitness Club. We welcome you to dive in and explore everything that the Clubs of Sandestin have to offer. Life is better when you’re golfing. At Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, if you’re serious about experiencing the best courses in the area, look no further. When joining the Golf Club, the access and privileges make it a smart investment for those who love the game and play often. Member benefits include unlimited access to Baytowne and The Links Golf Club with no green fees and access to the Raven Golf Club with $10 green fees. It also means you will receive special member cart fees, advanced registration privileges, access to exclusive member tournaments and special member rates for PGA instruction. So, grab those irons, and your lucky putter too and join the Golf Club of Sandestin. Exclusivity has a name when it comes to golf in Northwest Florida and it’s Burnt Pine, the most heralded and breathtaking of Sandestin’s championship courses. The unrivaled status and prestige of Burnt Pine Golf Club extends beyond the greens and fairways to include the coveted clubhouse and surrounding neighborhood. Membership grants an array of platinum-level perks, including unlimited access to the Burnt Pine Golf Club, practice facility and PGA golf instruction; access to private club social events and the club’s private fitness facility. Not to mention you’ll receive special member rates at Raven, Links and Baytowne courses.



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Voted Perfect in South Walton in 2019 the Tennis Club of Sandestin is a family friendly setting where you can get court time with like-minded tennis connoisseurs. Your membership means unlimited time on twelve HydroGrid clay courts and three hard courts, full access to clubhouse facilities, reduced rate tennis lessons and year-round tennis activities, including mixed doubles round-robins and adult drill clinics. Other accolades include being ranked in the Top 25 U.S. Tennis Resorts. Ready to build a more active regimen into your schedule? Whether you’re new to the gym scene or a well-trained triathlete, the Fitness Club offers a fully equipped fitness center to help you achieve your goals, no matter what level of fitness you are looking to achieve. Enjoy cardio workout rooms, Nautilus circuit,

yoga, indoor cycling, Zumba and many other special interest activities, including a running club. Pair this with full locker room privileges, to include sauna, steam room and whirlpool and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your fitness goals. Need a little extra motivation? A Sandestin fitness center personal trainer will have you on track to meet your goals in no time. Did you know that being an owner at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort comes with a multitude of special amenities? As a member of the Resort Club of Sandestin, a private club reserved for owners, you will enjoy upgraded access to a wealth of discounts, perks and exclusive opportunities to enjoy the resort. A membership at the Resort Club of Sandestin means experiencing Sandestin to the fullest.

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!"#$%&'($% What if you could upgrade to one of the signature experiences that makes Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort a true hidden gem in Northwest Florida? The sugar-white sand and emerald green waters make this area a constant favorite amongst travelers, locals and second homeowners, but when you add the Beach Club to the equation, it elevates your experience in a way you and your family truly deserve. As a Sandestin owner exclusive, benefits to the Beach Club include a private beach, heated swimming pool, and beach amenities to include, chairs, umbrellas, cabanas and towel service. Plus, private member privileges for your next event, including weddings, birthday parties and family reunions. Are you interested in learning more about being a Sandestin homeowner? The Sandestin Real Estate team is the most respected team for buying and selling real estate in Sandestin. Put their experience and local knowledge to work for you and experience the very best in real estate sales. There is truly something for everyone at Sandestin. We welcome you to discover the bond of our community and celebrate this special lifestyle that can only be found at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort by joining The Clubs at Sandestin. Become a member today and be in the clubs, partaking in your passions, tomorrow.

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VIP Destin at The Board Walk

Movies on the Beach photos & story by Zhalman Harris


ncredibles 2 was the movie for the night at The Boardwalk on July 14. The family-friendly Movie on the Beach every Tuesday during the summer is hosted by The Boardwalk, Visit Okaloosa Island, and Al’s Beach Club & Burger Bar. The movie night is a summer hit for parents and kiddos who come out to watch a movie on the giant screen, under the stars with their toes in the sand. Some families were able to take advantage of the many onsite restaurants by purchasing some tasty food before taking their seats to enjoy the movie. They also practiced social distancing which was enforced by Al’s Beach Club to ensure guests were safe.


Maddie & Austin Ridder

Linda Dugan & Katherine Hanson

Arya, Vanessa & Anders Kaz

JR & Justin Rech

Jay, Ryker & Tiffany Tunstill, Caroline Gault & Abby-Kate Tunstill


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Kennedy, Dani & Raygen Finch

Legend & Tiffany Ellis

Jenny Herman, Hannah Sculley & Amanda Crowe

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ust days after Henderson Park Inn reopened after being closed more than a month due to COVID-19 restrictions, General Manager and Owner Representation Shannon Howell answered a phone call of an old friend, Gail Morgan of the Okaloosa Film Commission. She was working with Destin-Fort Walton Beach’s Jennifer Adams on fi lming locations for a music video, and after another location fell through, they were hoping to use the inn for a few shots. Happy to help, Howell, of course, agreed, and hours later Jason Aldean’s red Ford Bronco pulled up to the 37-room, adultsonly property. On July 1, Jason Aldean released the official music video for “Got What I Got,” which is the fifth track on “9,” Aldean’s latest album that was released in November 2019. And since its introduction to the public, the song has gained popularity. The entire music video was fi lmed in Destin-Fort Walton Beach and featured shots of the Marler Bridge, Destin’s iconic welcome sign, the Pier and, of course, Henderson Park Inn. “When I said yes, we thought they’d just use our beach for the video,” said Howell. “I


photos & story provided by Henderson Park Inn

had no clue that we’d end up being a huge part of it.” A hidden gem nestled along the shores of Destin, Henderson Park Inn provides the ultimate sanctuary for secluded rest and relaxation, and its unique New-England style proved to be a perfect location for Aldean and his wife, Brittany, to shoot one of Billboard’s Top 25 US Hot Country Songs. “While we believe we provide a luxury, celebrity-level experience, we’re honored to have had the chance to work with Jason and his team,” said Howell. “We’ve had celebrities stay with us before, but not quite

on the level that Jason is. Getting this sort of exposure from a celebrity like this is huge for our area, and we can’t thank Destin-Fort Walton Beach enough for all that they do for our community.” After Jason and Brittney Aldean and their team finished shooting, they joined the guests of Henderson Park Inn on its main deck to enjoy cocktails and a variety of delicious food from Beach Walk Café, the inn’s in-house restaurant. Howell shared that the entire crew was incredibly kind, professional and respectful of the property’s new COVID-19 policies, and they had a blast that evening.


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“With all the nicely presented food, Brittney [Aldean] was craving French fries, something we don’t serve at Beach Walk Café. But Chef Daniel jumped into action and made her some, and she was delighted,” said Howell. “It’s good to see that the success and fame hasn’t changed the fact that they are good, down to earth country people that treat everyone with kindness and respect.” For more information about Henderson Park Inn or to book your stay, visit www. or call 866.398.4432.

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+&,* %&'(")*

!"#$%&&' !"#$ %&'(")*

Named "Best Place to Watch a Sunset" by Destin Magazine Since opening their doors in 1971, Vue on 30a showcases one of the most panoramic dining experiences on the Gulf. Vue has claimed its fair share of accolades with its fresh approach to dining with delicious menus thoughtfully designed by a culinary team of experts. SUNDAY BRUNCH 10 am – 2 pm

HAPPY HOUR 3 pm – 6 pm daily

Contact us today | 850.267.2305

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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village

Brooklyn & Cole Loutt

Tony & Pam Hudson

Rob & Channon Payne

Cirque du HarborWalk photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


arborWalk Village is hosting the Cirque du HarborWalk every Tuesday evening from 6:00-9:00PM until August 11. This event is a free, festive night on the Harbor with entertainment for all ages. July 7 might have brought in some rain, but it didn’t stop kids and adults from dancing to DJ Doc Roc while watching trapeze and aerial artists of Aerial Events, The Fun Connection Entertainment Stilt Walkers, juggling, fire spinning, and more. Aerial Events even showcased their lighted costumes on stage dancing along with the DJ, which brought in more locals and tourists to take photos, have a few drinks, dance, and stay awhile. Although this summer may look different, HarborWalk is implementing extra precautions to ensure a safe and healthy experience along with fun events for everyone to enjoy. The kids are still enjoying the magic of Cirque du Harborwalk with extra activities along the walkway and ways to social distance, but still enjoy the beautiful hot summer evenings. There is plenty of family-friendly entertainment, but also fun for the adults including great music, fabulous dining, and for this evening, a little shelter to dance even during the rain.

Tammy Sands & Casey Roberts

Cailey Norris & Allie Beach

Andrew & Hannah Rose Swope

Lisa Hubbard, Tiffany Black & Jazzmyn Hubbard August 2020 | 47

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VIP Destin at Cirque du HarborWalk

Brooke Sigmond & Kate Seacrest

Grace Eugenides, Kaitlin Laird & Shannon Vogt

Kayla Warbington & Abbigail Fager

Mariam Duque & Nathalie Landaverde

Leslie & Freddie Romez

Mickey Cameron & Asiago Zakari

Sherry Collins, Cindy Harris, Tara Watson & Carolyn Clark 48

Nancy Wry & Michael Hicks

Rachel Velasquez & Mae Leroy


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story by Steve Barber


!"#$%&!%"'( • Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice • Muddled Basil • Simple Syrup • Grapefruit Vodka There’s something about fresh squeezed citrus that gives us all the summer feels! This simple and delicious martini recipe makes an at-home happy hour a breeze. Simply combine the ingredients, shake with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Garnish with fresh basil and enjoy. Cheers!

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!"#$%&!%"'( • 1.25oz- Vodka • .25oz - Blue Curacao • .25oz- Melon Liquor • 4oz Pineapple • 2oz Sour Mix To make the refreshing Emerald Grand Cocktail, gather all ingredients and add into a shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into a tall glass. Garnish with orange slice and cherry. Enjoy with a legendary view of Destin’s East Pass.

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estin and the Emerald Coast are home to some of the finest resorts in the country. The quality of service and attention to detail spotlight the beauty of the area, from views of the Destin Harbor to the shimmering swimming pools and amenities to the pristine, sun-kissed, white-sand beaches. Nothing beats relaxing by the pool or beach and ending the day with a gorgeous sunset and the perfect resort cocktail. They always use fresh ingredients, quality spirits, and the perfect vessel.

We have gathered some recipes to share some of the areas most delicious resort cocktails. Check out these resorts while visiting, and have the real experience with great views and wonderful service. Later, enjoy these recipes while remembering your awesome vacation. Wherever you choose to land on the Emerald Coast for your perfect summer vacation one thing is for sure…just like these resort cocktails, your experience will be truly unforgettable.



!"#$%&!%"'( • Blue Whale Gin • Lemon Juice • Lavender Syrup • Tonic Named after our iconic Salamander Spa Lavender Champagne, this classic gin twist is the perfect refresher to enjoy on Destin’s first rooftop bar, The Rooftop at The Henderson. Experience breathtaking aerial views of the emerald waters and serene Henderson Beach State Park while you sip on this noteworthy cocktail.

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!"#$%&!%"'( • .5oz Bacardi Black • .5oz Bacardi Coconut • .25 oz Goslings 151 • .25 oz Bacardi Oakheart • .5 oz Crème de Banana • 2 oz Orange Juice • 2 oz Pineapple Juice • .25 oz Grenadine • Pineapple Garnish The famous Rum Jungle cocktail at Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa will transport you back to the sugar white sands of Miramar Beach with every sip. This tropical concoction is fi lled with refreshing fruit flavors and is sweet, strong and delightful. The Rum Jungle features Bacardi Coconut Rum, Goslings 151, Bacardi Oakheart Rum, Bacardi Black Rum and Dekuyper Crème de Banana, with orange juice and pineapple juice and is garnished with a pineapple slice.

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Moday ≠ Saturday, 10am ≠ 9pm Sunday, Noon ≠ 8pm


850.796.2424 ∑ 415 Mary Esther Cut Off NW, FWB PetlandFortWaltonBeach



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Carabiner Jewelry Locks & Chains - starting at $25 Lily Chartier Pearls

Guardian Angels Sleeping Eye Mask, adjustable 3D contoured eye mask is a must for eyelash extension wearers - $10.00 Amazing Lash

Introductory One-Hour Massage or Facial $59.95 ($99.96 Value), Membership Available Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa Tatcha Silken Pore Perfecting Sunscreen Broad Spectrum SPF 35 PA++ - $65 Sephora at Destin Commons

Marahlago Azure Pear Larimar Necklace, comes with an adjustable 21� sterling silver chain - $375 Sea and Sand Jewelry

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Born from healing, the Zents line is not only organic but also biodynamic. Sustainable, hand harvested organic shea butter is the main ingredient, along with stress-busting flower essence - Ranges from $5- $47 depending on product HarborWalk Village

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VIP Destin at Boathouse Oyster Bar

K9s for Warriors photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


n July 25, from 2:00- 9:00 PM, Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican Group partnered with K9s For Warriors for a fundraiser at the Boathouse Oyster Bar at the Destin Harbor. The K9s for Warriors is a non-profit organization founded by Shari Duval, dedicated to serving veterans of our military since 2011 that provides and trains service dogs for American Warriors suffering from PTSD, TBI, and/or MST. This organization is the nation’s largest provider of service dogs for disabled American veterans and 95% of the canines come from rescue shelters. With over 1,214 dogs rescued and 634 Warriors rescued, it is a true success in making a difference in each person’s life. Although it was a rain and wind-fi lled day, people were ready for the raffles, drinks, and food at the Boathouse Oyster Bar, and a try at the dunk tank with participants, Jerry Sullivan, owner of Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican Group Jerry Sullivan, Destin elementary principal Joe Jannazo, and more. This event raised $894, K9s For Warriors would like to thank everyone who came out and supported this wonderful organization.

Jerry Sullivan, Michele Griffin, Leslie Sullivan, Marissa Benney, Aerial Mahryah Guest, Stefani Greenwood, Victoria Hughes, Doshia Centeno, Nancy Malski, Tina Baltazar, & Joe Adsit

Annabelle Centeno & Doshia Centeno

Braden & Joe Jannazo

Jerry & Leslie Sullivan August 2020 | 57

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VIP Destin at K9s for Warriors

Sabrina Burke, Megan Bodie & Summer Bryant

Nancy Malski, Victoria Hughes, Marissa Benney & Stefani Greenwood

Tabytha, Scott & Marissa Benney

Trent Baltazer, Victoria Hughes, Tina Baltazar & Joe Adsit 58


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Out of the Box & New Beginnings Offering photos & story provided by Rodos Realty Partners

RRP Capital Services, Out of the Box, and New Beginnings Homes and Management are pleased to announce their partnership to build 1,500 homes. This partnership allows them to realize their vision of providing safe, affordable homes across the Panhandle. Their homes are made with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and are rapidly assembled on-site, without sacrificing quality or aesthetics. The high-strength, light-weight panels allow a small team to quickly construct quality buildings that combine personal security, privacy, comfort with durability, energy efficiency and very low maintenance. The houses are engineered to withstand high levels of earthquake seismic activity and wind loads of up to 186 mph. Through New Beginnings, they are also able to offer free financial literacy education, affordable credit repair service, monthly home buyer seminars, lending, and insurance services. The goal of this partnership is to help people not only be able to afford a safe and beautiful home, but to stay in that home. These businesses came together with a shared mission to create stronger local communities that fuel economic growth. They believe quality home ownership should be accessible to all.



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ì It is our mission to provide a home to be proud of that is safe, affordable, and attractive. A home where its owners have a safe haven to build a future and grow their families.î

1. The Next Generation of Home Building Our homes are made with structural insulated panels (SIPs) and are rapidly assembled on-site, without sacrificing quality or aesthetics. The high-strength, light-weight panels allow a small team to quickly construct quality buildings that combine personal security, privacy and comfort with durability and very low maintenance.

2. Delivered Directly to Your Homesite Everything you need for a beautiful, single-family home is packed into a shipping container and is delivered to the building site. The package includes all exterior, interior and roof panels, with all required accessories (fasteners, screws, etc.), doors and windows, door hardware, appliances, cabinetry, countertops, sinks, faucets, flooring, interior “finish” panels, interior and exterior trim package, siding and lighting package.

3. Provides Superior and Energy Efficient Construction Because there is no wood contained in the structure of the homes, condensation and the opportunity for mold, mildew, or insect infestation are virtually eliminated. Our houses are engineered to withstand high levels of earthquake seismic activity and wind loads of up to 186 mph.

4. Faster and More Affordable The elegant design and our proprietary connectivity system allow the units to be rapidly and easily assembled on-site using local unskilled labor and small tools. The units can be constructed on concrete slab or piers. The simple design and concise packaging, low logistics needs, and fast, easy construction means project management is simplified, timeline is shortened and money is saved.

5. A Home to be Proud Of The result is more than a house, it’s a beautiful home that is structurally sound, comfortable, high quality, energy efficient, fire resistant and affordable.

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VIP Destin at Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation

Kim & Sloane Henderson

Marcia Hull, Debby & David Hull, Herb Peterson

photos & story by Steve Barber


uests enjoyed a night under the stars at the most beautiful outdoor music venue on the Emerald Coast on July 16. The band Accent performed live as patrons enjoyed a bottle of wine or their favorite craft beer and delicious snacks with a blanket, chair, or purchased tables. Family and friends come together for this Destin tradition on Thursday nights during the spring and summer each year. The Florida Travel Guide named The Concerts in the Village as one of the “Top Ten Things to Do” in Northwest Florida. The Foundation presents 15 annual concerts in a spring, summer, and fall series featuring a diverse genre of music suitable for all ages and families spanning generations. National, regional, and local musicians perform annually on the Dugas Stage. Accent has been playing for company parties, formals, and receptions since the mid 90’s. Their showmanship and professionalism have made this band one of our most requested bands. Patrons enjoyed the high energy dance and party band that performed motown, top 40/pop, classic rock, oldies, and variety songs. Check out the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation website for upcoming dates of the Concerts in the Village at Tickets can be purchased at the door: general admission $15 per adult, free to MKAF members and kids under 12. To learn more about becoming a MKAF member visit

Candis & Jack Wilson

Jackie Cronin & Gwyn Wendt

Marsha & Dale Peterson, Dale Hull 62

Susan Ogle, Denise Kendust & Teresa Allen


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ON TARGET ! ON TREND Serving the Emerald Coast and Beyond since 2011

Best Public Relations Firm 2013≠ 2020 Best Event Planner 2018≠ 2020 Best New Business 2012

9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 24 |

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Best Public Relations / Advertising Firm 2015≠ 2018 Best Event Planning Firm 2015≠ 2018

Miramar Beach, FL 32550


Finest Public Relations / Ad Agency 2016

(850) 460≠7 777


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photos provided by Emerald Coast Foundation story by Greg Alexander


roviding for kids at risk and in need is a highly respected contribution to our community and to society. The Emerald Coast Foundation (ECF) is an organization who’s simple but vital mission is just that, providing for kids. Taking advantage of the area’s love for the water and in celebration of boating on the Emerald Coast, a group of locals got together and created a way to turn that pastime into a successful fundraising event benefiting our most precious asset – our children. Since 1992, ECF has raised over $2.7 million dollars, all of which has remained local to help kids who desperately need it. ECF is a 100% volunteer driven, grass roots organization made up of leaders in the community who work tirelessly each year to put on Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run. In addition to the 25 board members, it takes well over 100 volunteers joining in each year to put on Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run, all for the love of the community and with the optimism of helping kids. The ECF indirectly helps big kids too. One of the charities they support is ARC of the Emerald Coast, where funds help the grown adults that have mental disabilities who are truly still kids. The ECF likes to say they help big and small kids.

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Interview with Peggy King

Board President – Emerald Coast Foundation What is the primary mission of Healing Emerald Coast Foundation?

help more than ever. We are determined to make a substantial donation to each of our charities this year.

The Emerald Coast Foundation (ECF) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit foundation whose main purpose is to raise money for local kids at risk and in need. ECF is a 100% volunteer organization, made up of community and business leaders, who work tirelessly every year to put on Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run.

Another challenge we face is the perception that our event is only for the big, expensive, offshore powerboats. Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run is a celebration of all boating. Whether you have a powerboat, center console, cruiser, or pontoon boat, we invite you to participate and come together for one common goal, raising money for local kids in need. For 2021 we will also be welcoming motorcycles and cars to do the poker run by land. We are very excited about this addition and have already received very positive feedback on the change.

How is the organization funded? The majority of our funds come from Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run. We are also fortunate to be the recipient of the Boardwalk on Okaloosa Island’s Annual Pelican Plunge. We love our partners at the Boardwalk. We also receive donations from local businesses like Mary Esther Bingo, who has generously supported the Emerald Coast Foundation for years. Top sponsors include IP Casino Resort Spa, Emerald Coast Harley Davidson, and AJ’s Restaurants. We could not do it without them and the dozens of other loyal sponsors. How does Emerald Coast Foundation select the non-profits it supports? ECF has supported the same four charities for the last several years, Children in Crisis, Eleanor Johnson Youth Center, All Sports Association, and the ARC of the Emerald Coast. They were chosen based on need, and the fact that they served our local kids. The profits from Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run, are split the equally between the four charities. We work extremely hard to get sponsors and in-kind donations to keep our costs low. Every penny we save is another that goes to the kids. Funds from the event are awarded once a year at a check presentation party. That is the best night of the year! Last year we awarded our four charities over $80,000. What is the greatest challenge facing Emerald Coast Foundation? Right now, it’s Covid-19. We had to cancel our event for 2020. It was a heart-breaking decision. We are working hard on an alternative so we can still support our kids this year. With Covid-19, the kids need our

What is the most rewarding part of your involvement with the organization? First and foremost, it is knowing that we are helping kids. We are not given a choice of who our parents are, where we live, and what race we are. Every child deserves to make their own way. They deserve a chance to have a good life. We do not tell the charities how to spend their money. If they need to use our donation for the power bill, so be it. In addition to that, I am surrounded by an incredible group of people, including our sponsors. I am humbled to be the president of such an incredible and historical foundation. Last but not least, it is so much fun! We work so hard, but it is truly the best part of my year. How did you become involved with Emerald Coast Foundation? I started out as a poker runner many years ago. I was also the director of development for the Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast, a benefiting charity at the time. I was asked to join the board, and with my extensive marketing and public relations background, I felt like I could bring a lot to the table to help the kids. Right after joining the board, I set up visits to all of the benefiting charities. I was not familiar with some of them and wanted to see what they did for the kids. I was blown away at not only what they did, but how many kids in our community need help. I was hooked and have been active ever since. It is truly my heart and means the world to me. How can someone become involved with or support Emerald Coast Foundation? To volunteer, please contact us at or you can contact one of our charities. Each year we ask them to provide volunteers to work the stops, deal poker, collect silent auction prizes, and help put on this incredible event. Although we cancelled the event for this year, we are not giving up on raising money for our kids. Covid-19 has made life incredibly hard on kids that are already at risk and in need. Our ECF board has decided to have The Great Poker Run Drawdown! We will be selling 500 tickets for a chance to win OVER $15,000 in CASH and prizes. The grand prize is $10,000! Other cash prizes total $5000. In addition to the cash, we will be awarding many other fun prizes, including weekends at the IP Casino Biloxi, Emerald Coast Boat Week and Poker Run merchandise, and other prizes that would have been part of our 2020 events’ silent auction. I invite everyone to be a part of helping the kids of our communities overcome their circumstances. They need us, and the Emerald Coast Foundation will be there for many years to come.

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LOCALE O Coed Recreation Fall Softball League The City of Destin will host Coed Recreation Softball Leagues. Starting Wednesday nights, on August 12th, 2020. A mandatory team captains’ meeting will be held on Thursday, July 16th, at 6:00 p.m. at Destin Community Center. Space is limited to the first 16 teams per division that register. Team fee is $275 and must be paid before the team is placed on the schedule. The last day to register a team is August 10th. Individual fees are $40 with a $20 discount offered to Destin residents (proof of residency required). There will be a $10 discount to players who sign up for the Men’s league also. Individual fees must be paid before a player is eligible to play. All players must be at least seventeen to participate. For more information, please call (850) 420-2747 or email:

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Prepared for Any Possible COVID-19 Surge

As a Level II Trauma Center, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center typically runs a high census in the ICU, even before the COVID-19 pandemic. Bed capacity is a fluctuating figure depending on the care needed by our patients on any given day. This is why our hospital has been preparing for months to respond to potential impacts of COVID-19. We have surge plans in place for the ICU that will be activated if needed. In addition, there are a number of initiatives that we have implemented to keep our patients, colleagues and physicians safe including: · Our hospital leadership consistently monitors the guidance and information provided by our local Department of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). · Our hospital is strictly implementing

guidelines established by the CDC, and working closely with our federal, state and local partners including the local health department. · As these official sources share updates and changes, we revise our processes and response accordingly, and communicate with our staff and physicians. · While our caregivers are accustomed to caring for patients with respiratory infections, as we often do during flu season, we have been reinforcing well-established infection prevention protocols and sharing the latest guidance from the CDC. · At this time, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is well equipped to respond to the needs of our community. · We continue to communicate with our hospital and medical staff to: - provide necessary updates; - reinforce appropriate infection response and prevention protocols; and - ensure access to necessary supplies and equipment. · Our preparedness efforts also include arranging staffing contingency and emergency plans in the event they are needed. “Our hospital caregivers manage communicable diseases on a daily basis; our experts know how to identify and treat infectious illnesses while minimizing risk to caregivers and patients, just as we have done in cases such as the seasonal flu or other communicable diseases,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center. “Well before COVID-19 was declared a pandemic, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center (FWBMC) had already taken exceptional measures to face the virus head on, and plan, prepare and mitigate its potential threat.”

C.A.R.E. Center Successfully Released Six Rehabilitated Sea Turtles

Fort Walton Beach, FL. - The Gulfarium’s C.A.R.E. Center successfully released six rehabilitated sea turtles early Tuesday

morning, June 30th, 2020 at Grayton Beach State Park off of East County Highway 30A. All six of the rehabilitated sea turtles fell victim to ingested marine debris in the Gulf or fishing equipment related injuries. Their time of stay in rehabilitation at the C.A.R.E. Center varied. The first turtle to be released was Damsel, a sub-adult green sea turtle, who was foulhooked in the front left fl ipper by fishermen at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on June 29th, 2020. The hook was removed and radiographs showed that no foreign debris had been ingest so Damsel was quickly ready for release back into the Gulf. Tyrell and Flick, two juvenile green sea turtles, were next to be released. Both turtles were found near Navarre Beach Fishing Pier in mid-June. Tyrell was foul-hooked by fishermen with a double barbed j-hook in the right front fl ipper. Flick had fishing line wrapped around both front shoulders and had become entangled to the pier piling. There was also a large hook embedded into his right front fl ipper. The juvenile Green sea turtles received clean bills of health, and were quickly ready for release after the removal of the hooks and fishing line. Claudia, the fourth sea turtle to be released by the Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center team, was discovered near Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on June 5th, 2020. This 112lb subadult loggerhead was found with roughly 3lbs of fishing gear (including a fishing rod, full sabiki rig, multiple types of lines and weights) trailing from her. With the help of Okaloosa Pier Staff, she was rescued and brought to the C.A.R.E. Center. This was Claudia’s second visit to the center. She was previously found slightly east of the Okaloosa Island Fishing Pier on September 13th, 2019 with fishing line severely entangling her front right shoulder, as well as a fishing lure caught in her front right fl ipper. “Incidental capture in fishing line is one of the greatest threats to sea turtles,” states Terra Throgmorton, Gulfarium’s Medical & Stranding Coordinator. “If such an event occurs, please do not cut the line and let the turtle swim away. Call Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) at 1-888-404-FWCC (3922) for immediate direction on what to do. Also, make sure to dispose of all fishing gear correctly as discarded fishing debris has August 2020 | 67

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LOCALE O the potential to become severely entangled, which could result in limb amputations, drowning, or even death.” Shimano was the next turtle to head back into the Gulf of Mexico. This 40lb Kemp’s ridley sea turtle was hooked by fishermen at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on June 11th, 2020. Radiographs showed that no debris had been ingested and, following the removal of the hook from Shimano’s mouth, he was ready for release. The final sea turtle to be released was Mahogany, a 100lb sub-adult loggerhead. Mahogany was caught by fishermen at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier on May 23rd, 2020. In addition to fishing line protruding from her mouth, there was line entangled around her front left shoulder and fl ipper. Radiographs revealed a large gauge hook located in her esophagus, as well as two fishing hooks in her intestines. Surgery was required to remove the large gauge hook from her esophagus but she was able to pass the two intestinal hooks on her own. The C.A.R.E. team closely monitored her suture site to ensure healing and provided nutritional support to aid weight gain before she was deemed ready for release. “We are very thankful for the responsible fishermen and pier staff for taking the correct steps to rescue this turtle,” explains Will Merrill, President of the Gulfarium. “All species of sea turtle are endangered so we are passionate about doing everything we can to help these animals. We couldn’t be happier that these turtles were able to be released back into the Gulf. I am proud of our team and their commitment to give sea turtles second chances” Follow the C.A.R.E. Center on Facebook to learn more about sea turtles and the center’s rehabilitation efforts. The Gulfarium CARE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is proud to act as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation. Donations are tax-deductible and can be made online on the C.A.R.E. Center’s page.

Bijoux Earns Wine Spectator Restaurant Award in 2020 Bijoux Restaurant + Spirits has been honored for its outstanding wine program in Wine Spectator’s 2020 Restaurant Awards. 68

The restaurant is recognized among other winners from all over the globe as a top destination for wine lovers.

Bijoux has won the Award of Excellence, which recognizes restaurants whose wine lists feature a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Wine Spectator began its program to recognize the world’s best wine lists in 1981. “We’re pleased to shine a spotlight on the destinations around the world that show devotion to their wine program, while also creating a comprehensive global dining guide for our readers to enjoy,” said Marvin R. Shanken, Editor and Publisher, Wine Spectator. “We are thrilled to be honored with this award again,” shared Bijoux owners Leslie and Jack McGuckin. “Our loyal patrons, excellent staff and continued efforts to offer the best cuisine and complementary wine list enable us to continue to provide the highest caliber dining experience in Northwest Florida.” Bijoux is open seven nights a week. Reservations are suggested by calling 850622-0760, online via the Bijoux website or through the free OpenTable smartphone app. Bijoux is located at the Market Shops in Miramar Beach, on the south side of Hwy. 98, at 9375 US Highway 98 W Ste 22, Miramar Beach, FL 32550, at the entrance of the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort.

Main Street DeFuniak Springs Announces New Executive Director Main Street DeFuniak Springs announced Chelsea Blaich (Bl-ake) as its new Executive Director this week. The board of director’s voted unanimously for Blaich at their meeting held Wednesday, July 1.

Along with over eight years of experience in public relations, marketing and events, Blaich was voted the 2017 Member of the Year for the Florida Public Relations Association Northwest Florida Coast Chapter, and 2018 Young Professional of the Year by the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce. Blaich served as the 2019-2020 Young Professionals of Walton County (YPWC) President and continues to sit on the YPWC Board of Directors. Born and raised in Panama City, Florida, Blaich is no stranger to the area, having moved to Walton County in 2012. “I was introduced to DeFuniak over a decade ago by my husband, Chase,” Blaich said. “The community immediately embraced me and made me feel welcome. I’m eager for the opportunity to help develop a downtown experience that will embrace its locals and visitors in the same way.” As Executive Director, Blaich is responsible for the development, execution, implementation and documentation of activities and initiatives of Main Street DeFuniak Springs Downtown District (the District), a 501c 3 non- profit organization. The district is part of Florida Main Street, a Main Street America accredited program. “We are extremely proud to introduce Chelsea Blaich as the new director of Main Street,” said Main Street DeFuniak Chairman, Mac Work. “As a lifelong area resident with family roots deeply embedded in DeFuniak Springs, she not only has a vested interest in the success of our city but can also provide the visionary leadership our beautiful city needs. With a background in marketing and public relations, she is the perfect fit for DeFuniak Springs. We are excited about the opportunities Chelsea’s leadership will afford us as we continue our journey to make DeFuniak Springs the best small town in Florida.” For more information on Main Street DeFuniak Springs including events, merchants and development news, please follow @MainStreetDFS on Facebook and Instagram. To contact Main Street DeFuniak Springs, please email Info@


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LOCALE O Back Beach Barbecue Raises $1,680 for South Walton Academy Back Beach Barbecue celebrated its threeyear anniversary in business on Wednesday, June 24, 2020 and raised a total of $1,680 for South Walton Academy. To commemorate the occasion, Back Beach opened its doors for their loyal customer base to come enjoy breakfast, lunch, or dinner with 25 percent of sales made throughout the day benefitting South Walton Academy. Guests were invited to the Panama City Beach restaurant, from 7 a.m.- 9 p.m., to dine on Back Beach Barbecue’s awardwinning barbecue. The first 100 customers received a special gift bag fi lled with branded items from the restaurant, including a cup, koozie, and sticker. Back Beach Barbecue served over 400 people throughout the day, each enjoying a variety of smoked meats, sides, homemade sauces, and desserts. The number one selling item throughout the day was the brisket, which is typically the number one selling item every day, according to Back Beach Barbecue’s pit master, Shane Kirkland. The event celebrated the past three years Back Beach has been open while also relishing in the individual successes and achievements the restaurant has garnered throughout the short period, and the numerous obstacles they have faced in

those years including Hurricane Michael and the recent COVID-19 pandemic. Each having detrimental effects on the restaurant industry, Back Beach Barbecue has risen to the occasion and tackled these setbacks head on while continuing to take care of their staff and their families. “Within the next few years we hope to keep building our team and creating the family-oriented establishment that we have always imagined,” said Monica Cosenzi, owner of Back Beach Barbecue. “We want to continue to be a staple in the community and keep giving back as much as possible.” The anniversary event raised a total of $1,680 for South Walton Academy, a private, non-profit inclusion school and pediatric therapy center in Santa Rosa Beach that includes therapies and educational tools in an effort to bridge the gap between communication and children with Autism and other learning disabilities. As the only school of its kind, their program is highly sought after and desired in the community. The money raised from the anniversary event will help fund any future expansion of the Academy as the need for more facilities, new teachers, and supplies continue to grow. “We are so happy to celebrate Back Beach Barbecue’s three- year anniversary and are honored to be the beneficiary,” said Calley Middlebrooks, founder and president of South Walton Academy. “South Walton Academy is truly grateful to Back Beach Barbecue and family for continuing to support our non-profit private school and therapy center.” Back Beach Barbecue’s dining room and patio remain open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner seven days a week. The restaurant has implemented updated cleaning procedures and spaced their tables at least six feet apart in order to protect their customers and staff during this time. “When people ask their friends what the best place is for BBQ, we hope they say, Back Beach Barbecue in Panama City Beach,” Cosenzi said.

EDC Announces Partnership with FloridaMakes

Understanding with FloridaMakes which will add immediate value to the EDC’s longstanding Technology Coast Manufacturing & Engineering Network (TeCMEN). With a stated goal of maximizing the level of operational resources available to the EDC’s TeCMEN and its members, the agreement will result in TeCMEN being integrated into FloridaMakes’ statewide manufacturing workforce development activities and monthly best practice calls. In addition, FloridaMakes will assist the EDC with promotional activities and content associated with the organization’s TeCMEN Industry Day – an event that has become the Gulf Coast region’s premier one day technical expo. Held annually since 2017, the 2020 TeCMEN Industry Day is scheduled for August 27 in Fort Walton Beach. “I could not be happier to see a cooperative partnership signed between the EDC and FloridaMakes. Not only does FloridaMakes have a well-reputation of service and dedication to the growth of manufacturing across the state, but they also bring a wealth of knowledge and experience to our table,” said David Haines, FY 2020 TeCMEN Chairman and President of Precision Measurement, Inc. “Such co-aligned missions make the sharing of information and resources invaluable in establishing Okaloosa County as a hub for world-class design and manufacturing. I am very excited to see where this collaborative effort leads.” “We are pleased to forge a new partnership with TeCMEN at the Okaloosa EDC,” said Kevin Carr, FloridaMakes CEO. “As the recognized voice for the manufacturing industry in the region, TeCMEN expands not only the reach but the capabilities of the FloridaMakes network directed at strengthening our state’s manufacturing economy.”

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The Economic Development Council of Okaloosa County (“EDC”) announced today that it has entered into a Memorandum of August 2020 | 69

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Bracken Law, PA serves the areas of Destin, 30A, Santa Rosa Beach, Miramar Beach, Panama City Beach, Niceville and Fort Walton Beach, Florida.


(850) 792-2677 | | 30A | 2930 W. County Highway 30A, Suite 210 | Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32459 Holiday Plaza | 12273 Emerald Coast Parkway, Suite 107 | Miramar Beach, FL 32550


2014 - 2019

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2016 - 2019

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VIP Destin at Destin Area Chamber of Commerce

Mac McFarland & Elizabeth Spies

Brian Keister, Austin & Tera Jennings, Jason Hall & Matt Stone

7th Annual

Great American Cookout Debbie Bodenstine & Scott Lightsey

photos & story by Steve Barber


he Destin Chamber, Building a World-Class Community…One Business at a Time, hosted the popular 7th Annual Great American Cookout on July 14. The event was sponsored by Community Bank and Emerald Coast Title Services. Guests enjoyed networking and a fun and casual cookout at the Chamber. This year’s non-profit spotlight was Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. Fisher House of the Emerald Coast is located on Eglin Air Force Base in Northwest Florida and provides a “home away from home” so that military families can be together during treatment for serious illness or physical/occupational therapy. The House is within steps of the Eglin Air Force Base Hospital and Veteran’s Clinic. For more information on the Destin Chamber visit and for more information on Fisher House of the Emerald Coast visit Ami & Matt Cavinder

Monica Autrey & Jim Wood

Neko Stubblefield & Mia Hughes August 2020 | 71

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VIP Destin at Great American Cookout

Casey Jernigan Kine & Lane Redding

Fred Fenn, Heather Julseth & Trisha Marks

Shane Moody & Dion Moniz

Chelsea Fox & Gerard Perillo 72

Bryana Bahmer & Bill Head

Ken Wampler & Les Porterfield

Alyssa Tidwell, Nicole Noblitt & Alexsis Evans

Stephanie Duffield & Jennifer Gutai Comella

Tami Groth, Haven Henrick & Bryan Anderson

Myla Martinez, Jerry Williams & Marcia Hull


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Social Membership Benefi ts Starting at $85/mo, No Monthly Minimums, Club Charging Privileges, Member≠ Only Tournaments and Events, 10% Discount Food Purchases, 10% Discount Golf Shop Purchases, Preferred Rates on Golf, May Make Tee Times 14 days in Advance, Discount on Banquet Facilities.

Full Membership Benefi ts Starting at $145/mo, All Social Member Benefits, Unlimited Golf, Walking Option, Special Pricing on Lessions, Preferred Rates for Accompanied Guests, Club Cleaning and Storage, Member Locker Rooms.

Student Membership Benefi ts $150/Semester, Unlimited Golf Semester Membership is valid from the first day of classes of the membership semester until the first day of classes for the following semester. Membership dues must be paid in full at the beginning of each semester.

Scenic Hills Country Club boasts an 18 hole championship golf course with a wide selection of tee boxes to challenge players of all abilities. Scenic Hills has hosted many prestigious amateur and professional events and is currently the only course in Florida to host a USGA open event. Voted ì Best of the Bayî many times over, Scenic Hills is the perfect venue to play with family and friends, and for groups of any size and skill level.

Open to the Public

Scenic Hills Weddings • Accommodates Up to 225 guests • Free Champagne Tour and Consultation • Experienced Venue Manager • Ceremony Space • Reception Space • Custom Layout Options • House Linen (chair cover add on option available) • Dance Floor • In House Catering Menu(s) • Custom Menu Options Available • Cake Cutting • Bride and Groom Ready Rooms • Bridal Lunch • Grooms Golf Package (upgrade options available) • Free Guest Parking

Thank you for voting us Best Golf Course and Event Space 8 8 9 1 B U R N I N G T R E E R OA D | P E N SACO L A , F L | S C E N I C H I L L S .CO M | 8 5 0. 476 .0 3 8 0

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What is your hometown, what brought you here to the Emerald Coast, and how log have you lived here? I was born and raised in Vincennes, Indiana. After graduating from Indiana University and experiencing an extremely cold winter with temperatures below zero and wind chills even colder, I decided it was time to follow Jimmy Buffett’s advice and have a change in latitude and a change in attitude. So in January 1984, I moved to Pensacola Beach and in 1990 I began working in Destin, eventually moving here in 1997. What is your profession, and what led you to choose it? I enrolled in IU’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs with aspiration of working in the public sector to serve my community and to help make it a better place to live. Working for Destin Water Users managing an essential resource, providing safe reliable drinking water and sanitation services to the community is the ultimate fulfi llment of those aspirations. What do you like best about Destin? What makes it unique? I love the people you meet here in Destin whether they grew up here or moved here, they have wonderful stories to share. I love the giving spirit of the community and how people pull together to help one another and make it a better place. Destin is a small town with the amenities and opportunities of a bigger city. What are three words that best describe you? Faithful. Dependable. Rotarian. To borrow from Destin Water User’s mission statement, I live and work in a little piece of paradise, and I am intent on doing my part to keep it that way.

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photo by Zhalman Harris

Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because…

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