VIP Destin Magazine, Oct 2019

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Where the South Comes for Smiles !"#$%& '"#$%& !"#$%&'(")$*+,+-")& !"#$"!%&'()&"%#*#!$



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Voted Best Boutique and Best Local Retailer

Copyright © 2015 Joseph Ribkoff Inc. All rights reserved. Any reproduction and/or use of the Joseph Ribkoff logo for commercial or promotional purposes is forbidden without the written authorization of Joseph Ribkoff Inc.



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events 15 Harvest Wine & Food Festival 18 Taste of FWB Food & Wine Festival 21 Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament 26 Sweet Sunday: Pumpkins & Primrose Sip and Shop 28 Hotel Effie Topping 39 Stand Up to Breast Cancer 44 Pink Walk Fore Her 46 Safe Water for Walton 49 VIP Destin Magazine Cover Reveal Party 54 Animoré 57 Rock & Wag 59 Destin Business Tech Summit 61 Baytowne Beer Festival 64 Blues, Brews, & BBQ 67 Bloody Mary Festival 70 Alaqua Check Presentation 74 Beer & Ballet 78 2020 Common Sense Service Strategy 80 Helping Heroes Gala

on the cover !"#$%%&'(')*+,*$,'-,." !"#$#%&'(")*+) !"#$%#&'(#))*+ '$*,-.(/0%*,-&#-1*2'.' ,-03-&1#0*4-'5"*6-1#&$*'03*7('

departments 24 42 52 71 76 82

Give Care Share Destin Style Coastal Cuisine Save the Date Locale I Am Destin

features 31 Health & Beauty Learn about the area’s top Health & Beauty experts who keep Destin looking and feeling great!

;<!/6(&.%1/0-2->%1(/?.-@@ !"#$%&'() Greg Alexander *&&+,%-.(/!"#$%&'() Verla Price 0-1-2%12/34%.+) Steve Barber !)+4",.%+1/34%.+) Jessica Graña *45().%&%12 Steve Barber Missy Kimbrough

6(&%21() Priscilla Atkins Sheila McDiarmid 7+1.)%#".%12/8)%.()&9 !'+.+2)-:'()& Greg Alexander Jen Deeb Zhalman Harris Shanna Magnuson Coutrney Murray Verla Price Liesel Schmidt ;<!/=+"14() Jeff Watson December 2019 | 11

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!"##"$%&$'(%#)"%*+,!-.)"$ Many people say that December is the busiest time of the year. With so many events, celebrations, parades, and parties; on top of the cooking, shopping for gifts, and work ‌ they may just be correct. While this celebratory season keeps many of us on sensory overload when looking at our calendars, it forces me to do a little reflection of the past year. I consider other months when we take the Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Years celebrations out of the mix and realize that our calendars are always quite full. Sometimes I wonder how we get it all in, but we do. Then, I also think: did we receive joy out of cramming all that stuff in? Most often the answer is yes. Although sometimes hectic getting there, the busy lifestyle that allows us to experience fun times with friends, family, and colleagues is what makes us who we are and writes our personal history. So, take in every second of this wonderful season where we celebrate our health, family, faith, and our place in this great big, busy world. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, try to revel in the feeling that you have so many reasons to celebrate, and opportunities to do it well. This final issue of 2019 proves how quickly time flies. It is, again, our Health and Beauty Issue where we highlight some of the incredible providers in the area. Whether you have a broken bone, need a spa day, or have a desire for a cosmetic procedure of any sort, VIP Destin Magazine wants to assist you in finding the best fit for your needs. Check out our many supporters, sponsors, and advertisers to learn how they can help you be your best. As always, you will find most prominent in this issue, recaps from the latest social, business, and philanthropic events in the area. We enjoy sharing these events to help connect people to the community, whether you were able to attend the function or not. In addition to showcasing the impressive events that living in the Destin area allows, we have included some other features that fit well with this issue and this season in areas from style, cuisine, and giving. All of us at VIP Destin Magazine wish you the best season ever for celebrating with friends, family, and loved ones. Reflect on memories and traditions of past holiday seasons and then make new ones that you will cherish for years. Merry Christmas

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


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VIP Destin at Cerulean Park

Harvest Wine & Food Festival photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he 2019 Harvest Wine & Food Festival, produced by Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), was held at the iconic beach town of WaterColor October 24-26. The festival provided patrons the opportunity to sip and savor some of the world’s finest wine and culinary selections. Harvest Wine & Food Festival showcased over 250 wines paired with food stations which were designed to highlight the best in Gulf Coast fare. Each event was tailored to fit the different tastes and preferences of wine and food aficionados. With proceeds going to support DCWAF’s 16 benefiting children’s charities in Northwest Florida, it was definitely a great reason for people to come out to indulge and have a good time. This years’ festival boasted seven James Beard award-winning chefs, 14 culinary stations, and over 250 wines, beers, and spirit selections. Saturdays happenings included the famous Fox Bros Bar-B-Q and Sam Jones BBQ, six headlining wineries, two wine seminars hosted by Catena Zapata, and three culinary seminars. Founded in 2005, DCWAF has donated more than $15 million to Northwest Florida charities by hosting world class wine and culinary events. These funds have impacted the lives of over 90,000 at-risk youth in our local community. Currently ranked #3 for the second year in a row, DCWAF has been recognized as one of the Nation’s ‘Top 10 Charity Wine Auction in the U.S.’ by Wine Spectator Magazine for the last six years.

Miranda & Bryce Jarvis

Alex O’Daniel & Leah Vickers

Luisa Hencker, Cynthia Azicri, Maria Florez & Justo Arellano

Kevin & Tracy Louhthain

Robert & Ali Weil December 2019 | 15

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VIP Destin at Harvest Wine & Food Festival

Elizabeth Burfitt & Beth Bosley

Jimmy & Brooke Boswell

Jacob & Devan Watkins, Caroline & Scott Boone

Sherry Blauner & Rosalyn Wik

Stacey & Mike Brady

Aleta & Dave Jefferson

Cindy & Jeff Garrard

Michelle & Jonathan Slater

Heidi Gonzalez & Lan O’Donnell

Janie Schmidt, Michael McIntosh, Dawn Moliterno, Emily Cox & Daniel Peters

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Chris Wade & Anthony Lanier

Elizabeth Luna, Jeanne Casiello & Jackie Vamvakas

Jessica Plowden, Tracy Louthain & Kelly Thompson

Destiny Wagner, Maddie Kolovich & Shannon Maris December 2019 | 17

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VIP Destin at Fort Walton Beach Landing Park

Taste of Fort Walton Beach

FOOD & WINE FESTIVAL photos & story by Jen Deeb


eptember 22 was a beautiful day in Fort Walton Beach for the area’s 4th annual Taste of Fort Walton Beach Food and Wine Festival. Local liquor, wine, and food vendors lined the walkways of Fort Walton Beach Landing Park, offering endless samples of various wine and food items. The vendors consisted of local food trucks, restaurants, and liquor/wine stores. There were vendor tents to visit, along with a VIP tent that boasted liquors and wines available to those with a VIP ticket. Water was available for free throughout the event, which helped to keep event-goers cool and hydrated from the heat. Local events are always an awesome way to support our community, but when that local event chooses to support and donate to a great cause, it makes it even more special to attend. Partial proceeds went to benefit Children in Crisis, Inc. Florida, whose mission is committed to “Providing Homes…Keeping Brothers and Sisters Together.”

Kathryn Mitchell & Felicia Purfoy

Amber Matlock & Teresa Delgatti


Justine & Adrine Aquino

April Lee & Ken Hair

Alexander & Michelle Biegalski

Mark & Lindsey Spalding, Jamie & Rob Kamber

Jessica Hilcox & Tyan Shore


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Haley Hallberg, Shannon Streacker & Lanie Wilson

Stephanie Gold, Ashley & James Richmond

Jeanie Blumer, Jonnie Jennings & Deb Roberts

Chelsea Gamble, Likeisha Wilkerson & Mike Parker December 2019 | 19

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VIP Destin at Destin Commons

Destin Charity

!"#$%"&'()"*#$+,'$photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he 4th annual Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament benefiting the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center took place on September 29. The double-elimination tournament had teams vying for a chance to win $750 in cash and prizes, while spectators who purchased a wristband enjoyed access to World of Beer and Paula Deen’s Family Kitchen Beer Garden. Spectators also had the opportunity to bid on one-of-akind painted cornhole board sets designed by local artists, including Christa Bass, Estelle Grengs, Kathryn Guidry, Velia Lala, and Alexis Poff. The winners of the tournament were: Hole Punchers who came in 3rd, Corn to Be Wild came in at 2nd place, and retaining their championship from last year, were Shuck Norris with 1st place. The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center is a not-for-profit agency that, along with their partner agencies, provide services in Okaloosa and Walton Counties to help prevent child abuse, and strive to protect victims and their families.

Julie Porterfield & Chelsea Fox

John & Ange Toombs

Brownwyn Toombs & Rachel Guidry

Tashana Griffiths & Ta’ki Brown

Jennifer Town & Angie Harder

Isabella Lee & Kaitlyn Mesa December 2019 | 21

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VIP Destin at Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament

Samantha Collazo & Abie Brake


Andrew Franco, Tyler Huisken, Paul Schroder & Bill Hilbish

Aubry Summers & Joe Severino

David Lamon & Todd Walker

Rick Fields & Scott Cahle

Matt & Amber Perkins

Gita Graves, Jamie Habel & Robin Porter

Julie Charles, Nathan Garrett & Abigail Canfield


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photos & story by Aero Air Charter

Interview with Wendy Smith, Managing Partner – Aero Air Charter How did the donor program play a part in your decision to purchase Aero Air Charter?

Give us an idea of the timeline once Aero Air Charter has received notification of an organ pickup and delivery.

We were Aero customers first. We never set out to purchase a jet charter, it just all happened serendipitously. As we spent more time with the crews between fl ights, we asked a million questions about them and the operation. They told us about donor fl ights, and as we heard these stories, we felt the extreme pride coming from the pilots and the staff to be a part of a team that gives hope. We saw a powerful theme and fell in love.

Our organ donor fl ights are usually last minute, overnight, and during weekends. Notification can be within one to five hours ahead of departure. Time is crucial to coordinate the crew flying to pick up the doctors at one private airport and transport them and the organ to a second location.

Once we purchased Aero Air Charter, I knew one of our missions was to encourage organ donation and to provide the best possible infl ight experience to the medical teams. Is there a donor story that stands out to you?

All donor fl ights are incredibly special, but one that stands out for me was a late-night call to pick up organs from San Juan, Puerto Rico…my hometown. From my small island of Puerto Rico, that has gone through so much the past two years after Hurricane Maria, came a tremendous gift to someone here in the states. Like all organ fl ights, Aero delivered quickly, efficiently, and with the highest honor and pride. That mission felt personal to me and to my family back in Puerto Rico. From Puerto Rico with love… I pray that it was a successful procedure, and the donor’s family takes some comfort in knowing that their loved one gave the gift of life. What a legacy! 24

Aero answers these calls 24/7 and can be wheels-up within 2 hours. A system is in place to ensure we have pilots on standby that have their FAA rest and enough fl ight time available. The jets and infl ight cabin are always prepared and ready for takeoff, as it would be for any Aero VIP passenger. Having this system in place is vital because of the incredible time sensitivity. “Time is muscle,” as one of the medical surgeons said. How many organ deliveries does Aero Air Charter make a year?

Aero has made 103 medical fl ights and over 50,000 miles just in the past eight months! That’s 50,000 miles of spreading hope. Why is the donor program important to Aero Air Charter?

The donor program has become a part of Aero’s DNA, and therefore, a part of our culture. Once I learned more about organ donation and heard stories from families who turned loss into hope and from donor recipients, I became a passionate advocate.


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Dear Donor Family, I’m following up to let you know more concerning the donations of your father and husband, Jeff. Jeff’s skin donation went to the University Hospital to help burn patients and those who are having difficulty healing a wound. His saphenous vein was sent to Kansas, where a 67-year old female received it for a vein peripheral bypass surgery, which helps restore blood flow to the leg. A 54-year old male from Nevada received his other saphenous vein. Jeff’s donation helped 64 people, ranging in ages from 14 to 70, live a better life. Although losing a husband and father, especially at such a young age, is a dramatic and painful loss, we hope that knowing his organ donations helped so many people provides some comfort. Sincerely, Karen Family Support Liaison


t’s sacrifices like this that touch and motivate the Aero Air Charter family, because, beyond flying friends, families, and businesspeople to their destinations, Aero delivers life-saving doctors and organs donated for transplant to patients in their most critical moments. This one letter shows how one organ donor can improve - even save - lives. And it’s not just the life of the recipient that’s improved. The lives of all those connected with the donor are impacted, too. One person, one donor, means so much to so many. “It’s an honor.” That’s how Wendy Smith, Partner at Aero Air Charter, describes its partnership with organ donor organizations these past five years. In each of those years, they’ve made more than 100 fl ights delivering life-saving doctors and organs donated for transplant. Aero Air Charter first took fl ight in January 2015 and was purchased this past February by Pensacola residents Wendy and Joel Smith. “Being involved with organ donor organizations is important to us at Aero - it’s a relationship that we treat with reverence,” explains Mrs. Smith. “It truly is humbling to be part of something that helps improve and save lives.” Organ donor fl ights are a team effort. For Aero’s pilots, donor fl ights are as close to a military mission as it gets in the civilian world. “They’re last-minute, as time-sensitive as it can be - a matter of life and death – and they involve teamwork to be successful. And they’re personally rewarding,” says Kit McCulley, Aero’s Air Charter’s Director of Operations and Chief Pilot. “Good or bad weather, I love to fly transplant organs and the medical staff. Because of the conditions, some fl ights require all the skills, training, and expertise that I’ve gained over the years,” explains Aero Air Charter Pilot, John Jenesta. When the call comes, it’s Aero’s 24/7 staff, such as Chelsea Whiteside, that answers and puts all the parts into motion. “I’ve received calls while I’ve been at the beach and out on a boat, but most come late at night. At that point, it’s a rush to put it all together, but It’s a rush that is so worthwhile,” says Ms. Whiteside.

Dear Donor Family, A great deal of gratitude is expressed to you, your husband and father, Jeff, and to all who have been instrumental in restoring better vision to me. I have a visual deterioration condition known as Fuch’s Dystrophy. The corneal graft I received now allows me to enjoy near-normal vision. It’s been restored to the point that I’m typing this letter without the aid of glasses. Your letter of introduction and expression of love for your dear husband and father touched me deeply. It saddens me to know he is no longer here in this life with you, but I think his love and kind influences are with you every day. Thank you for allowing his life to impact and be such a great blessing in mine. With much gratitude, Trev

One donor, so much good. This is why Aero Air Charter is committed. This is why they encourage all who read this article to become an organ donor.

Sign up at

December 2019 | 25

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VIP Destin at The Henderson


!"#$%&'()*)!+&#+,(-).&$)/'0).1,$ photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he Henderson showcased Sweet Sunday: Pumpkins & Primrose Sip and Shop on October 20. This elevated free farmers’ market on the Grand Lawn of The Henderson was hosted by Proffitt PR, The Honey Hutch, and The Sonder Project. The day was packed with people of all ages and adorable pups, ready to sip, shop, and savor flavors of fall by Primrose, The Henderson’s signature restaurant. Attendees had an afternoon to shop merchandise of local vendors, listen to live music by Sarah Anne and The Sunshine Band, enjoy crafts and photo ops, and even pick out a pumpkin from The Village Church to bring home. Guests were also greeted with a complimentary tote, thanks to Parkside at Henderson Beach Resort and Spa, to use while shopping. Epic Photo Co. along with Destin Commons gave guests a complimentary 5”x7” printed photo with the fall-themed pumpkins and balloon background, perfect for a family picture moment. Proceeds of this event benefited the Sonder Project, global non-profit charity focusing on strengthening communities through food security, clean water, housing, and education. October marks the one year anniversary of Hurricane Michael, with over 6,615 volunteer hours helping those in need.


Marissa Johnson & Alli Merritt

Matt Morgan & Heidi Gonzalez

Whitney Cooley & Jordan Keeter

May Ellen & Cindy Dimauro

Drew Killingsworth & Emma King

April Hager & Gaelle LeGoff


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Josh Frye & Breanna Paske

Diane Neuman, Traci McQuillen & Susan Burch

Susan Luttrell & Lauren Dahlman

Destiny Lane, Linda Adams & Shannon Quinlan

Alissa Greer & Amy Wright

Kamaron MacDonald & Jamie Provinse

Denise Song & Nancy Bown

Jessica Bracken & Taylor Sheekley

Heather & Marc Williams

Pay, Abbey & Kristi Beattie December 2019 | 27

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VIP Destin at Sandestin

HOTEL EFFIE TOPPING photos & story by Zhalman Harris


handful of people were invited to the topping out ceremony for Hotel Effie on October 11. The guests enjoyed the amazing view of the Bay, the Gulf, and surrounding areas. Named after owner Tom Becnel’s grandmother, Hotel Effie exemplifies all the charm and personality of its namesake. The hotel, which is being constructed by Batson-Cook, will have 250 full-service rooms and a conference center with 20,000 sq. ft. of conference space. Celebrity Chef Hugh Acheson is developing the food and beverage outlets throughout the hotel, including a three-meal restaurant, coffee bar and market, lobby bar, rooftop pool bar, in-room dining, and much more, located adjacent to the Baytowne Conference Center at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. “Effie” will be ushering in a new era in aspirational vacationing to Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast. During his welcome remarks, Tom Becnel thanked his guests and said he was sure Hotel Effie will be an important addition to Sandestin. Becnel also touched on how proud and appreciative he was of his daughter, Sara Becnel, VP of Development for Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, for working closely together on the “Effie” Project and all of her hard work. Sara’s high attention to detail and experience in luxury business development, construction management and interior design fused with her father’s grace, humility and real estate proficiency has set the tone for the relaxing, yet fiercely modernized ambiance that the hotel will exemplify.


Cali Hlavac & Kiara Watson

Sara Becnel & Tom Becnel

April Sarver & Aleis Tusa

Kevin & Meema Hurley, Cathy Jones & Deidra Stange

Lisa Bulriss & Shirley Wise


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Chuck & Beverly Cooper

Quang Giang & Christopher Lambert

Megan Harrison, Royce Mitchell & Heather Cleveland

Celeste Morales, Sarah Salesses & Felix Miralda December 2019 | 29

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r. Li-Ping Chew is grateful and excited to join the Stubbs Orthodontics team! Her personal experience at her childhood orthodontist made a lasting impression, and since then, she has wanted to provide beautiful smiles to others for a lifetime. Dr. Chew graduated from the Mayo Clinic, where she was accepted as the only dentist in the nation for their three-year program. She recently achieved her board certification as an orthodontist through the American Board of Orthodontics. Her education has allowed her to treat a multitude of orthodontic problems. As a military spouse, Dr. Chew has travelled all around the world. No matter the location, she engages with and enjoys serving in the community in which she lives. She is also passionate about international affairs and has recently travelled to Kenya and Rwanda to help train local dentists in orthodontics. Dr. Chew is married to her best friend from dental school, Matt Miller, who serves as a dentist at Hurlburt Air Force Base. They have one girl, Lucy, Stubbs Orthodontics and enjoy life together. During her free time, Dr. Chew enjoys CrossFit and yoga, and teaches in the local community.

DR. LI-PING CHEW 850.678.8338 Niceville & Miramar Beach

Health & Beauty Profiles | 31

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1000 Mar Walt Drive Fort Walton Beach, FL

Services Offered: • Area’s only Level II Trauma Center • 24-Hour Emergency Services (FWB and Destin locations) • 24-Hour Pediatric Emergency Services • Behavioral Health Services (inpatient and outpatient) • Comprehensive Cancer Care Center • Associate of UAB Health System Cancer Community Network • Top 10% in the Nation for Joint Replacement Surgery • Comprehensive Cardiovascular Program: • Top 10% in the Nation for Cardiac Surgery • Advanced Primary Stroke Center • Accredited Chest Pain Center • Open Heart Surgery • Valve Replacement • Cardiac Cath Lab • Cardiac Rehab • Full-Service Radiology/X-Ray • 3D Mammography & Biopsy • MRI • Nuclear Medicine • PET/CT • Ultrasound • The Rehabilitation Institute of NWF (in Destin) • CARF accredited Stroke Specialty Program • Women and Children’s Center “Where Families are Born” • Level II Neonatal Intensive Care Unit • Obstetrics and Women’s Health • 24/7 Pediatrician Coverage

Florida Institute of Neuroscience 850.863.3463 965 Mar Walt Drive – Fort Walton Beach 4400 Highway 20 East, Suite 203 – Niceville 115 Beech Avenue, W – Crestview 870 Mack Bayou Road – Santa Rosa Beach Northwest Florida Physicians for Women 850.315.8360 928-E Mar Walt Drive, Suite 201 – Fort Walton Beach 4400 Highway 20 East, Suite 201 – Niceville, FL

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Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has been a trusted provider of high quality health care in the region for over 40 years. As our community has grown, so has this valued medical institution. Today FWBMC is a 257-bed facility with a full range of specialty services which have been nationally recognized for both quality and safety for its patients. With a workforce of over 750 and a medical staff of more than 200 highly trained and respected physicians, FWBMC continues to elevate the level of specialized care available to residents and visitors through investment in programs, technology, and expertise. FWBMC’s pending certification as the first Trauma Center in the tri-county area is a testimony to its commitment to ensure the highest level of life-saving critical care possible.

time” for patients needing emergency cardiac interventional procedures. FWBMC is an Accredited Chest Pain Center and offers a full range of cardiac services from diagnostics to specialized rehabilitation. As FWBMC has worked diligently to broaden services for its patients, its focus on safety and quality of care is always at the forefront. This year, Consumer Reports rated it among the highest-rated hospitals in infection prevention in the country – ranking 4th in the nation based on patient volumes!

FWBMC is also home to the tri-county area’s only comprehensive Cardiovascular Program. It is the only hospital qualified to perform open-heart surgery. The heart program boasts a lower than national average for “arrival-to-lifesaving treatment

Niceville Family Practice 850.897.3678 4400 Highway 20 East, Suite 201 – Niceville

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital’s Certified Orthopedic Joint Replacement Programs have earned The Joint Commission’s Gold Seal of Approval™.

Northwest Florida Heart Institute 850.862.3194 1032 Mar Walt Drive, Suite 230 – Fort Walton Beach 115 Beech Avenue, W – Crestview

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2190 Highway 85 North Niceville, FL


Established in 1980, Twin Cities Hospital is a 65 bed acute care medical facility with all private rooms and the area’s first Certified Orthopedic Joint Replacement Program and Certified Spine Surgery Program by The Joint Commission. Additionally, Twin Cities Hospital offers a 24-hour emergency room staffed by board certified physicians, an intensive care/ coronary care unit, state-of-the-art surgery center, and a variety of additional inpatient and outpatient services. For the fifth consecutive year, The Joint Commission named Twin Cities Hospital a Top Performer on Key Quality Measures for Immunization, Surgical Care, and Venous

Thromboembolism (VTE). Twin Cities Hospital is proud to have a robust list of accomplishments—reinforcing their long-standing commitment to providing the highest level of quality healthcare to the community. Twin Cities Hospital’s Emergency Room provides quality and compassionate care to patients in need of unexpected medical attention. In January 2020 they are starting construction on a $6.7 million ER expansion. This expansion will include new triage areas, exam rooms and CT imaging. The expansion is expected to be complete mid 2020. Their team of board certified physicians and qualified medical professionals are ready to treat you and your family 24/7. Twin Cities Hospital houses the area’s only hospital based Wellness Center and offers a variety of health related community based seminars and programs. For a free physician referral or more information, call (850) 729-9468.

Services Offered: • 24-Hour Emergency Services • Top 10% in the Nation for Patient Safety • All Private Rooms • Bone Densitometry • Breast Health Services • Five Star Rated, Certified Joint Replacement Program • Knee Replacement • Hip Replacement • Certified Spine Surgery Program • Digital Mammography • Endoscopy • Geriatric Medical Care • H2U Membership Program • Intensive Care Unit • Laboratory • Medical/Surgical Services • Physical & Occupational Therapy • Physician Referral Service • Pulmonary Services • Radiology/X-Ray Services • American College of Radiology Accredited: • Computed Tomography (CT) • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) • Mammography • Nuclear Medicine • Ultrasound • Speech Therapy • Stroke Prevention/Education • Surgical Services (inpatient & outpatient) • Wellness Center • Women’s Center

Northwest Florida Urology 850.863.0883 928-B Mar Walt Drive Fort Walton Beach Northwest Florida Gastroenterology 860.357.8151 928-B Mar Walt Drive Fort Walton Beach

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Text ER to 32222 for average ER wait times

Wait is defined as the time of patient arrival until seen by a qualified medical professional. Message and data rates may apply.

11/25/19 1:48 PM


DR. STEVEN J. CLARK Bluewater Plastic Surgery 850.530.6064 Niceville & Santa Rosa Beach

egina Jaquess, PharmD owns and operates Emerald Coast Compounding Pharmacy. Regina started the first compounding pharmacy in Santa Rosa Beach in 2010. A compounding pharmacy provides customized prescription medication. Initially working at a large retail pharmacy, she found that the “one size fits all” approach to medicine was not what she had in mind. With her extensive training in compounding, she decided to forge her own business. She strongly believes there should be a connection between patient, physician, and pharmacist, and strives to develop a comprehensive plan to improve patient’s overall health and quality of life. They have been voted the “Best Pharmacy” on the Emerald Coast for three years running. In addition to running an elite compounding pharmacy. Regina is the current World Waterski Champion and has been a world champion 10 times in her career. She currently holds the world record in slalom skiing. She just competed in the Pan Am Games in Santiago, Chile where she brought home the Gold in Slalom, Jump, and the Overall event.


r. Clark is a graduate of the prestigious Sophie Davis School of Biomedical education accelerated program at City College of New York. He then attended University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine where he earned a Doctor of Dental Medicine degree in 1981. Dr. Clark was then accepted into the Oral Maxillofacial surgery residency at the prominent College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University. In 1990, he completed Medical School at Hahnemann University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. After 3 years of general surgical internship and residency at St. Barnabas Medical Center after plastic surgery residency programs at University of Chicago. Following his residency, Dr. Clark completed a cosmetic fellowship with Charlotte Plastic Surgery in North Carolina. Dr. Clark served in the United States Air Force where he earned the rank of Major. While in the Air Force, he was part of the Health Professional Scholarship Program. During his service in the USAF Medical Corps, he had privileges at both Hurlburt Field Medical Clinic and Eglin Hospital.


DENNIS LICHORWIC, DMD The Center For Cosmetic and Family Dentistry 850.654.8665 Destin & Panama CIty Beach


REGINA JAQUESS, PharmD Emerald Coast Compounding Pharmacy 850.622.5800 1719 S. County Hwy. 393 Santa Rosa Beach

ennis Lichorwic, DMD, values the power of a beautiful smile and believes in using minimally invasive techniques to create them. He has traveled all over the U.S. to universities, conferences, and training programs in pursuit of the best possible education in dentistry. Dr. Lichorwic received his dental degree from the University of Florida’s College of Dentistry in 1997. Following continued education in the practice, he brought his aspirations to life by opening his own practice in Destin, FL in 1999. With great success over the years, Dr. Lichorwic was able to grow his practice not only in Destin, but to a secondary location in Panama City Beach in 2010. He is ecstatic to be celebrating 20 years in business this year, stating “It has been an honor to serve the communities of Destin and Panama City Beach in all their dentistry needs. The love my team and I have for this business only elevates with time. As we grow, my team will continually strive to provide exceptional service and to exceed our patients’ expectations.” With much excitement, Dr. Lichorwic and his team will reveal the expansion of their Destin office in January 2020.


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r.Francia Squatrito is a board certified foot and ankle surgeon who specializes in medical and surgical treatments of lower extremity ailments. Dr.Squatrito is a graduate of Kent State University College of Podiatric Medicine and completed her post graduate residency training at Cleveland Clinic and Mercy Regional Medical Center in Cleveland, Ohio. This rigorous three-year surgical training provided Dr.Squatrito with the basis to treat some of the most complex foot and ankle problems. She specializes in plantar Bay Foot and Ankle Center fasciitis, ingrown toenails, flatfeet, arthritis, ankle sprains, 850.855.4048 fractures, warts, fungal 1775 Lewis Turner Blvd, Fort Walton Beach toenails, diabetic foot care and wound care. Patients of all ages are welcome, making Bay Foot and Ankle Center the best place to serve the needs of the entire family. State of the art technology including digital X-Ray imaging and noninvasive vascular testing capabilities are available on site. Dr.Squatrito is board certified by the American College of Foot and Ankle Surgeons. She is part of the medical staff at Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. She is proud to be the only female podiatrist serving our community. Dr.Squatrito and her husband Eric reside in Miramar Beach and are the proud parents of two sons, Oliver and Rory. The Squatrito family enjoy the coastal outdoors and are avid travelers.



r. Casi B. Stubbs grew up locally in DeFuniak Springs and opened her orthodontic practice on the Emerald Coast in July of 2008. She always knew she wanted to come back home after graduating from UF Dental School and completing her orthodontic residency at Nova Southeastern University, and she did just that. Dr. Stubbs’ treatment philosophy has always been focused on quality customer service and attention to detail with every patient treatment plan. Patient satisfaction comes first in everything she does Stubbs Orthodontics at Stubbs Orthodontics and her philosophy 850.678.8338 seems to be working, as Niceville & Miramar Beach she has been voted “Best Orthodontist” 5 times by different publications in our area including VIP Destin Magazine. Dr. Stubbs is fulfi lling her dream of providing excellent orthodontic care and servicing the families of the Emerald Coast, who she considers family. With two convenient offices located in Niceville and Miramar Beach, Dr. Stubbs is available to see you for a free consultation to begin your orthodontic treatment and journey to a new smile.


Distributed from 30A to Fort Walton Beach

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At Bluewater Plastic Surgery, Dr. Steven J. Clark and his team want to make your experience with them seamless and first-class in every aspect. With more than 25 years of surgical experience and training at several of the top university programs in the US, including a postgraduate cosmetic fellowship, Dr. Clark brings the expertise and judgment when selecting the best surgical plan to reach your personal goals. He is a diplomate of the American Board of Plastic Surgery (ASPS) and a member of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS). In addition to being designated as an Expert Injector, Dr. Clark is among a select group of Board-Certified Plastic Surgeons who have attained the highest level of achievement in cosmetic surgical training, continuing education and clinical experience. These select members earn the right to display the distinctive ASAPS logo, depicting the Egyptian Queen Nefertiti as a symbol of ageless beauty. Today this logo represents the highest achievement in Cosmetic Plastic Surgery. When asked what his philosophy regarding patients is, Dr. Clark replied, “Well, I always strive to achieve results that enhance a person’s natural beauty while preserving their individuality and uniqueness. I aim for a sense of personal harmony, culminating in patients who still look like themselves - only better!” Over the last 22 years on the Emerald Coast, Dr. Clark has built a reputation amongst patients and those who see him in action every day - operating room nurses and surgeons at Sacred Heart Hospital. That reputation does not come easy. Dr. Clark gives 100% to each patient he treats, ensuring safety, good clinical judgement, and meticulous care. If you are considering plastic surgery Dr. Clark recommends that you do your homework, and ask an operating room nurse for their recommendations.

4550 Hwy. 20 Niceville, FL 32578 6757 Hwy. 98, Suite 302 Santa Rosa Beach, FL 32550

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Botox/Facial Fillers Brow Lift Blepharoplasty (Eyelift) Mid-Face Lift Face/Neck Lift Rhinoplasty Otoplasty Lip Augmentation Chin Augmentation Breast Augmentation Breast Lift Mommy Make Over Gynecomastia (Male Breast Reduction) Tummy Tuck Ultrasonic Liposuction Body Contouring (Following Weight Loss) Laser Hair Removal RF Micro Needling

Steven J. Clark, MD, DMD, FACS American Board of Plastic Surgery American Society of Plastic Surgeons American Society of Aesthetic Plastic Surgeons

Phone: 850.530.6064 Fax: 850.308.627

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VIP Destin at The Henderson

Stand up TO BREAST CANCER photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


n October 29, The Henderson, along with Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Northwest Florida Daily News, hosted the Stand Up to Breast Cancer event honoring 19 local breast cancer survivors. The evening’s special guest was Brenda Ladun, ABC News Anchor and breast cancer survivor, who spoke to the packed banquet room. The Stand Up to Breast Cancer event was created six years ago to raise awareness on the importance of early detection. The entire hall and banquet room was filled with beautiful pink balloons, the honorees wore pink ribbons, and most guests wore a shade of pink. There were photo opportunities and a champagne toast to help raise money for breast cancer research. There were over 50 nominations for this year’s individuals to be considered as the honorees, spanning from Panama City to Pensacola. This was an evening to bring awareness, but also an opportunity for the honorees and loved ones to have a beautiful night out, dinner, and for all to be encouraged to get breast health screenings.

Daniela Martin & Allie Noah

Jordan Wonsick & Shelli Brown

Tonya Richards & Lori Kelley

Nicole & Matthew Johnson

Denise Kendust & Marielle Roberts

Christine Walker, Victoria Wyatt, Brittany Byrd & Rachelle Zdan

Julie Cotton & Kathy Newby

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VIP Destin at Stand Up to Breast Cancer

Magi Williams, Alvita Russell & Danielle Sanspree

Velva Donlon, Nathan Kelley & Robin Donlon

Bonnie & Terry Rarick, Esther Bingaman & Candice Miller

Lynn Bryant, John & Joan Cannon

Susan McConnell & Lisa Worthington 40

Mike & Sherry Clinch

Jon & Vicki Matthews, Wayne Paul

Tamie Allen, Kelley Olsen, Debbie & Steve Sabin


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December 2019 | 41

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!"#$%& !'"$%( story by Courtney Murray


nowy. Crisp linen. Eggshell. Cloud. Cream. Winter White. As the weather turns from the sultry long days of summer to a blustery winter season many people find themselves gravitating towards a darker palette. Why not step out of the box and go the other direction. Winter white is a look that turns heads. It is chic, it is timeless, and it is for everyone. Every age looks fabulous in a light and bright ensemble. White on white can be translated to casual with a cozy oversized knit sweater sipping wine by the fireside. A flowy cream blouse paired with white denim or wide legged trousers and a nude stiletto will boost your confidence walking into happy hour. That’s a look that exudes casual elegance. If you want to go full on elegance, a white sequin gown reminiscent of sparkling snow is the perfect choice for a winter ball or fancy holiday party. Crisp whites and creams are a sophisticated choice for the office as well. There is nothing quite as stunning as a creamy pant suit with clean lines to elevate your look. A monochromatic ensemble with a white bodysuit and an off white trench coat is an instant showstopper. Winter white isn’t limited to clothing. Accessories are a fun way to add to an outfit. For shoes, try out a strappy cream heel for a barely there look that matches with everything. A fun way to incorporate a trend and stay warm this season is with a nude over the knee boot. These look fabulous with everything from dresses to jeans. An iridescent clutch or off white tote are the ideal complement to a classic winter white outfit. It’s hard for the average male to pull off a head to toe white moment…but men can try their own take with tans, and creams in a variety of textures. An off white cashmere sweater, light tan chinos and a matching wool pea coat is a look that will instantly elevate and a can be worn to the office, on a date, or to a holiday gathering. Winter white looks incredible in outerwear, too. Throw on a white blazer to dress up a pair of distressed denim or over a dress, or a sparkly skirt to make it more casual. Cream looks great in everything from puffer jackets to cropped leather moto jackets; and every man, woman, and child should own a classic cream wool coat. It is stunning, it is classic, it is crisp, and goes with everything. The winter white look appears effortless, but proceed with caution; it definitely takes a lot of work to stay clean. Invest in a good Clorox to-go pen and get out in your best whites this season. 42


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VIP Destin at Destin Commons

Pink Walk Fore Her photos & story by Zhalman Harris


ore Her hosted their 2nd annual Breast Cancer Pink Walk at Destin Commons on November 3. In attendance for the half-mile walk and after party were breast cancer patients, survivors, and supporters. This family friendly event, presented by Emerald Coast Hospice, featured a DJ and photo booth from BBoy Productions, sweet treats from Kilwins, a Survivor Stroll, activities for children, and inspirational stories from Fore Her’s beneficiaries. All proceeds raised from the event will go to support Fore Her’s mission to provide financial assistance to women battling breast cancer in Northwest Florida. Fore Her is a 501(c)3 organization that was started in memory of Founder Amy Walsh’s mother and aunt, who both lost their battle with breast cancer. The Santa Rosa Beach based nonprofit works to financially assist local individuals battling breast cancer, allowing those battling to use the money in anyway they need; from paying the mortgage and utilities to taking a last vacation with their family. “When I speak with all of our applicants, I’m not sure who is more emotional, me or them,” said Ginny Richerson, Fore Her board member. “Each and every one of these ladies are so grateful to talk to a fellow survivor.”

Jennifer Weightman & Lori Zeigler

Sierra & Kellyanne Bartleson

Ginny Richerson, Ruthanne Rausser, Caroline Levesque & Cindy Coffman

Ziggy & Angie Resiak 44

Laura Acton & Jennifer Crawford

Rhonda & Madison Tenore, Jonnie & Louanne Coville


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Amy Walsh & Michelle Rauchman

Michelle & Luis Diaz

Sue Robson & Brenda Whitwell

Jessie, Tammy & Eric Scott December 2019 | 45

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VIP Destin at Hyatt Place Grand Boulevard

!"#$%&"'$(%#)(%&"*')+ photos & story by Zhalman Harris


afe Water for Walton held its first membership reception November 6, presented and hosted by Hyatt Place at Grand Boulevard in Sandestin. Founded in 2017, Safe Water for Walton’s first planned reception was set to take place a year ago, but was postponed due to Hurricane Michael. However, this year the show had to go on. The awards portion of the party included a gift to every program partner, event sponsor, and business member of the fast-growing regional non-profit. Guests enjoyed hors d’oeuvres, door prizes, raffle drawings, and a silent auction. Jeff and Mitzi Archer of YOLO Board® were VIP honorees, along with the Walton County School District and Gulf Power Company for three different initiatives of the group the past year. “Our philosophy is centered on building community, encouraging discovery, and fostering well-being, so we are excited about what Safe Water for Walton has accomplished in that very same spirit,” Jeff Archer said. In addition to education programs and fun community events, the group continues to work on the issue that galvanized it into existence, later getting local and statewide media attention- the proposal and pending permit application for a “deep injection well,” which is classified as a hazardous waste disposal by the federal government and Florida. It would be 4,000 feet underground, uncapped, for the express use of landfill leachate disposal, which is the toxic liquid collected in the liner under a landfill. The proposed location near the top of our area’s 6-county watershed in Jackson County that is also the public water source for Holmes, Washington, Okaloosa, Walton, and parts of Bay counties.


Robin Beans & Laura Holthoff

Mitzi & Jeff Archer

Joe & Lea Capers

Megan Suggs & Angie Salazar

Cathy Jones & Ron Couget

Fletcher Isacks & Jenny Dargavell


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Frank Day & Martin Liptrott

Adrienne Owen & Steve Hall

Mark Foley & Lee Perry

Myra Williams & Lynn Wesson December 2019 | 47

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VIP Destin at Cuveé Kitchen + Wine Bar

!"#$%&'()*$+,-,.)*&'' Cover Reveal Party


photos & story by Zhalman Harris

uveé Kitchen + Wine Bar hosted the November issue Cover Reveal Party for VIP Destin Magazine on November 5. The invitation-only event was well attended by local business owners and special guests, all who were excited to be the first to see who graced the cover of the November issue. The Dining Guide issue’s cover was featured by none other than two outstanding Destin locals, Betty White and Stephanie Phillips. Both ladies were in attendance and were overcome with emotion as they entered to see thier picture on the November cover. As always, guests enjoyed delicious hor d’oeuvres and drinks as they mingled and enjoyed the happy-hour style event. At the end of the party, there were door prizes awarded to the lucky winners who dropped their cards in the drawing jar at the door during registration when they arrived.

Steve Barber & Greg Alexander

Shelley & Steve Black

Betty White & Stephanie Phillips

John & Evie Morrow

Peter Mohylsky & Valerie Harrington

Shannon McCleod & JD Whidden December 2019 | 49

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VIP Destin at VIP Destin Magazine’s Cover Reveal Party

Jillian McCarthy & Rachelle Wyatt

George & Stephanie Brannon

Carly Harmer & Ali Weil

Heather Curry & Leah Vanhoose

Alan Meyers, Leighann Elliott & Chelsea Fox 50

Andrew Franco & Beth Clavier

Dalisse Chulk & Stevie McInnes

Tyler Jarvis & Verla Price

Lisa Hicks & Jacob Knight

Denise Song, Clint Rogers & Misty Rae Ruthrauff


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Renee Launiere & Vlad Babich with Gus

Nancy Bown, Janie Schmidt & Sherry Harlow

Mary Lamb, Mackenzie Marlow & Todd Reeves

Linda Adams, Bob Kirk & Allyson Shirley December 2019 | 51

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t doesn’t matter your age, there’s something captivating about strongest presence in the 1600s, when a bakers’ guild in Nuremburg, gingerbread houses, something that transports the senses Germany, began to employ master bakers to create complicated pieces straight to the magic and wonder and expectation of Christmas. of edible art from gingerbread. Due to the intricacies of creating Edible works of art constructed of heavily spiced gingerbread these pieces and the reverence surrounding it throughout the course dough, they allow the imagination to run wild, to allow creativity to of history—eaten by royalty and given on special occasions—baking come alive and explore a world where everything is sweet and tasty, gingerbread developed into an acknowledged profession. In the 17th where fence posts and street signs and paved lanes can be eaten. It’s century, no one but professional gingerbread bakers were permitted a storybook land, and with all to bake gingerbread, except at the nostalgia that gingerbread Christmas and Easter. During houses bring, it’s no wonder these two holidays alone, that people have established anyone was allowed to bake it. their own gingerbread-centric And bake it, they did, in traditions for their families shapes that included hearts, each year at Christmas… stars, soldiers, babies, riders, or that the completive trumpets, swords, pistols, spirit comes out to play, and animals. So when did the as competitions all over actual gingerbread houses gain the world pit gingerbread popularity? Findings show artists against one another to that the tradition of making create the most impressive, decorated gingerbread houses the most complex, and the began in early 19th century biggest gingerbread house Germany and were the direct displays anyone’s ever seen. inspiration of the well-known Historically speaking, Grimm’s fairytale, Hansel and gingerbread was once, in Gretel. After the book was fact, real bread, not the published, German bakers thin, crisp cookies that we began baking decorated now all know and love. And houses of gingerbread, though gingerbread has been harkening back to the edible in existence for centuries, house made of bread and it was legend and lore that sugared decorations that the gave it its close correlation children found after being with the Christmas season. abandoned in the woods. The As one story goes, the gingerbread houses became journey following the star to particularly popular during story by Liesel Schmidt Bethlehem was initially begun Christmas, and the tradition by four kings—or magi— was brought to America but illness kept the fourth by German immigrants. from completing the quest Making gingerbread houses to find the newly born baby. is still a common part of In his last days, the magus celebrating the Christmas was tended to by a rabbi season, with their structures in Syria, to whom he gave usually constructed using his chest of ginger roots— pieces of baked gingerbread originally a gift intended dough joined together for the Christ child he was with melted sugar and roof seeking. As he cared for the magus, the rabbi told him of the Messiah tiles made of frosting or candy. The yard or grounds surrounding who was prophesied to be born in Bethlehem, Hebrew for “House the house is often decorated with white icing to represent snow. of Bread,” a fact which gave rise to the practice of his students And while houses are the most commonly chosen structure, a making houses of bread to fortify their faith and hope in the coming gingerbread “house” can actually be any type of building: castles, of the Messiah. Hearing this, the magus suggested that his ginger cabins, churches, even iconic landmarks. With a little imagination roots be ground up and added to the bread to impart more flavor. and some skill—not to mention plenty of sugar, spice, and more Naturally, the original version of gingerbread evolved over the years, than a sprinkle of patience—the wonderful world of gingerbread created in various forms throughout Medieval Europe and gaining its houses is limitless…and boy, does it smell like Christmas. .

!"#"$%#&$'& ("%)*+,+*-. /-%0*.&"%& 12*"+&3*-.#



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VIP Destin at Biophilia Center

photos & story by Zhalman Harris


laqua held their 6th Annual 100 Point and Cult Wine Dinner on October 18 to kick-off the long awaited event “Animoré.” Animoré is the first annual weekend festival in celebration of and for the love of animals. The dinner took place at the E.O. Wilson Biophilia Center in Freeport, with the attendance of 110 special guests, who enjoyed a one-of-a-kind experience with an elegant affair. The event began with a cocktail reception, and an intimate musical performance, followed by an exquisite 5-course dinner prepared by Chef Brendan Davey, perfectly paired with distinctive and stellar wines. It was an evening of luxe savoring and sipping of fine wine. Just before the dinner, Alaqua founder Laurie Hood welcomed her guests, talked a little about the inaugural barn jam, thanked all who helped to make the weekend a successful one and a blast, and introduced the entertainers for the evening- Billy Dawson, Aaron Barker, and Jon Nite. The weekend’s campaign raised over $1.3 million. Thanks to all the animal lovers, the generosity of the community and the Dugas Family Foundation.

Jay & Haley Odom

Tom Davidson & Beth Davidson Carroll


Jennifer & Tim Creehan

Maddie Wells & Keith Dean with Ava

Priscilla Arce & Nikhil Abuvala

Greg & Yvonne Lala, Kristina & Wylie Hutchinson

Brittnie & William Orr


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Mike Ragsdale, Laurie Hood & Angela Ragsdale

Allison & Will Nazarowski, Lorre James

Melissa Stapleton, Hillary Vitovski & Mark Wallace

Christine Fox, Candis Wilson & Jennifer Creehan December 2019 | 55

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Proffitt PR

9375 Emerald Coast Parkway, Unit 24 |

Miramar Beach, FL 32550

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

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(850) 460≠7 777



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VIP Destin at Dog Harmony

!"#$ % &'( photos & story by Zhalman Harris


n October 9, Dog-Harmony hosted a live music fundraising event sponsored by Pratt Aycock, LLC: “Rock & Wag with Cadillac Willy.” Cadillac Willy is a locals’ favorite jam band founded in 2000. Dog-Harmony is a Santa Rosa Beach-based 501(c)3 non-profit with the motto: “Dog + Human = Family.” It is dedicated to keeping dogs out of shelters through humane education and fear-free training for both people and dogs. Dog-Harmony opened the doors of its 6,000 sqft. new facility in 2018 in order to expand its humane education, bite prevention, and dog training programs for the local community. Although a smaller operation now, Dog-Harmony has commenced a campaign to encourage both corporate and individual sponsors to donate on a monthly basis to help the non-profit achieve its strategic, future growth goals. At Rock & Wag, Centennial Bank sponsored the food provided by Pounder Hawaiian Grill in Niceville, and many wonderful sponsors donated items for the successful silent auction. Founder Nancy Bown encouraged guests to contact Dog-Harmony if they were interested in fostering or adopting a fur-ever rescue dog companion – and/or if they had interest in training their current canine companion using fear-free training methods led by her, CPDT-KA certified.

Andrew Farmer & Renee Broxon

Debbie & Frank Carral

Clayton Bojean, Shawn Shackleford, Pat Wilson & Metz Barnes

Derek Hill & Cris Ponce

Megan Gehlbach & Lisa Young

Brandy Moser, Jordan Harte, Jacqueline Curtsinger & Ashley Hayes December 2019 | 57

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VIP Destin at Rock & Wag

Mario & Abbi Dacosta

Kathy Lamb & Angela Passehl

December 12th - 22nd Dec 12-14, 19-21 at 7:30pm and Dec 15 and 22 at 2pm Field trips available on Dec 13, 18, and 19 at 10:00am

Denise Bailey & Elaine Weeks

A charming celebration of fan favorite characters from Pride and Prejudice, honoring the legacy of Jane Austen’s humor and wit in a warm-spirited family holiday theatrical production. Mary Bennet, the bookish and oft-forgotten middle child, has her quest for independence sparked by an unlikely visitor.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company is located at 560 Grand Boulevard, Suite 200 in Miramar Beach. The entrance is on the south side of the building facing Highway 98, take the stairs or elevator to the second floor.

Tickets or info, call 850-684-0323 or visit

Shannon Cully, John Holahan & Kerry Becnel 58



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VIP Destin at The Henderson

Destin Business

!"#$%&'(()! photos & story by Zhalman Harris


he first ever Destin Business Technology Summit, presented by Cox Business and the Destin Chamber of Commerce, was held at The Henderson on October 30. The daylong conference and expo connected Destin area small business owners and employees with the technology related information and companies they need to improve their business operations and protect their electronic assets. From IT 101 and business continuity plans, to cybersecurity and infrastructure discussions, topics were designed to appeal to a wide range of needs and experiences. Fourteen highly qualified individuals served as keynote speakers during breakout sessions scheduled throughout the day. Some of the speakers included: Teddy Batarao - CEO of Tecaba Tech, Kevin Bowyer - Managing Member at Warren Averett, Joe Thykattil from Cox Business, Jason Monroe - Senior Solution Consultant Bit Wizards, Scott Pruitt - IT Security Manager at Warren Averett, Ken Richards from Planet Secure, Nick Seagers - CTO at Icloud7, and Bobby Wagner - Owner of Land Sea Air Productions, among others. The all-day event ended with a cocktail reception later that evening.

Tera Keister & Jason Hall

Scott Pruitt, Amy Williams & Kevin Bowyer

Trisha Marks & Lindsey Polk

Shane Moody & Julie Cotton

Mike Coupe, Aleesa Jones & Bob Pinard December 2019 | 59

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VIP Destin at The Village of Baytowne

12th Annual

Baytowne Beer Festival photos & story by Zhalman Harris


ild temperatures and a gentle breeze from the north made perfect conditions for sampling local brews and merchants with live music on the lawn at Baytowne Wharf, where the 12th Annual Baytowne Wharf Beer Fest was in full swing on October 11-12. American specialty brews from around the nation were available to sample and savor. The event featured over 200 domestic and international craft beers, offering an opportunity to learn about the different types of lagers and ales from a variety of styles. October 11 showcased a few local beer tastings, and samplings of appetizers, limited to just 200 people, making it an intimate gathering. At the main event on October 12, there were more than 50 breweries featured, offering close to 200 domestic and international craft beers for sampling with brewery representatives available to discuss the different types of lagers and ales.

Ellen Verkley & Jayme Whitehead

Chelsea Calhoun & Peter Eckstrom

Brenton Valis & Morgan Palmer

Sarah & Caleb Everett

Steve & Roni Weinberger

Ray Yantch, Josh & Kristi Ray & Tim McCool

Destin Litterio & Lina Scurtu

December 2019 | 61

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VIP Destin at Baytowne Beer Festival

Donna Pinion & Beverly Billingsley

Ashley & Ellis Jones, Lisa & Patrick Lackey, Shelly & Mark Salling

Elizabeth Pasqualicchio, Janet Terranova & Amy Duffie

Josh & Janie Schmidt

Mike Sienkiewicz, Mike Baker & Charles Alexander 62

Chris & Jill Willis, Mary Francis Mullins

Angela Millstead & Maggie Berra

Grady & Melissa Tucker

Ragan Griggs, Samantha Garcia & Kenadee Loomis


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VIP Destin at HarborWalk Village


Blues, Brews, & BBQ photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


arborWalk Village hosted its 12th Annual Blues, Brews, & BBQ event. Event-goers enjoyed some of the area’s finest restaurants serving smoky ribs, pulled pork, and drinks from local breweries and distilleries. The competition was comprised of samples of creative BBQ styles with speciality sauces. Live music from John Hart and Tyler Mac on the main stage added to one of the last warm days of autumn, and made for a great Saturday stroll around HarborWalk at this family and pet-friendly event. Even with HarborWalk’s area to accommodate large crowds, this event was packed, and most available tickets were sold out with visitors ready to try every tasty dish and drink being served. There were five different award categories and this years’ winners were: Best Sauce- Ye Olde Brothers Breery, Most Creative- Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi, Best Traditional- Harry T’s Lighthouse, Best Booth- Emerald Grande at HarborWalk Village Grande Vista Bar & Grill. People’s Choice awards went to: First Place- Jackacuda’s Seafood & Sushi, Second Place- Harry T’s Lighthouse, and Third Place- Jim ’N Nick’s Florida.

Tyler Workman & Zoey Dagg

Riley Hawkins & Angela Hutchinson 64

Kylia & Joseph Stapp

Karrigyn White & DJ Champion

Kyle & Skye Howard, Jorge Rivria & Hallie Christofferson


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Brooke & Joe Falzone

Ronda & Carey Stegall

Christina Craig & Alexandria Bair

Jackie Johnson & Corina Gestreet

Loren Jack & Kelly Mogensen

Tom & Lynn Whittemore

Scott Simpson & Mady Hoialmen

Courtney Stanley, Hannah Garrett & Brittany Augustine

Brittany Byrd & Lindsay Lacasse

Michelle & Steve Friot, Travis Webb December 2019 | 65

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VIP Destin at The Market Shops

The Market Shopsí 5th Annual

Bloody Mary Festival photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


he Market Shops’ 5th Annual Bloody Mary Festival was a huge hit! It was sold out the day before and had more than 500 in attendance. On November 2, Proffitt PR and Habitat for Humanity Walton County hosted the event known as the largest tailgating party on the Emerald Coast to “enjoy the tastes of the most creative and innovative Bloody Marys.” Not only did guests get to enjoy Bloody Marys, but also beer from Grayton Beer Company, and champagne at the Hyatt Place bubbly bar. The party didn’t stop with drinks- there was a photo booth by Epic Photo Co, cigars by Shore Thing Cigars, boozy popsicles by Swell Pops, lawn games, live music by Dread Clampitt and DJ Dad, and streamed football games by Insurance Zone. This year the beautiful custom made awards were created by Maxine Orange Bern, and they doubled as a Bloody Mary trophy and a kaleidoscope. Judge’s Choice winner was The Surf Hut, 1st place people’s choice was Rockin’ Tacos, 2nd place The Surf Hut, and 3rd place was Jackacuda’s Seafood and Sushi.

Trey Pappas & Erica Wilson

Joe & Milla Azar

Tori Compton & Vicki Gordon

Paul Copeland & Tiffany Ashley

Marilyn McCollum & Teresa Allen

Jaysa Hunter, Stefanie Greenwood, Ashleigh Roberts, Pat Floyd, Kristal Edwards, Teresa Imdieke & Calvin Jones

Amanda Rudy & Amanda Kendrick

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VIP Destin at The Bloody Mary Festival

Antonia Poate & Barrett Perry

Rebekah Manley & Jessica Bracken

Steve Barber, Mary Aho, Tawney Felde & Macey Buchanan

Jack Smith, Joe & Lea Capers

Brenda Hood & Sherry Jarvis 68

Tiffany & Rob Hall

Kate Cruit & Kate Burke

Miranda & Bryce Jarvis, Erin O’Leary

Greg Hall, Sherrie Syphrit, Rodney McCloud, Stephanie Madden, Cale Madden & Justin April


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VIP Destin at Alaqua


Presents Check to Alaqua


photos & story by Zhalman Harris

laqua Animal Refuge was the proud recipient of a $10,000 check on November 6, at their facility in Freeport. The check was presented by Donna Franco of SAFECO Insurance, on behalf of the insurance company. Lea Capers of Insurance Zone said how proud they were to partner with Safeco Insurance Company, who encourages and rewards their agency partners for community service. “Insurance Zone was chosen for the Make More Happen Award for the work we do with one of our favorite charities, Alaqua Animal Refuge. We were thrilled to be able to present Laurie Hood a check for $10,000 from Safeco on behalf of Insurance Zone. Thank you Safeco!� said Lea. Alaqua Animal Refuge is a no-kill facility founded in 2007, and believes that every abused, neglected, and homeless animal deserves a second chance. Their private, nonprofit animal sanctuary is committed to serving the Emerald Coast as the premier no-kill refuge, providing protection, shelter, and care to animals in need. They are a full-service animal adoption center, and a peaceful, proactive animal welfare advocate through educational outreach and community programs.

Debbie Franco, Joe Capers, Laurie Hood & Lea Capers

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DECEMBER 1 – 22 Jolly Jubilee 2019 Destin Commons 4100 Legendary Drive | Destin It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Jolly Jubilee is an enjoyable series of holiday happenings that take place here at the center now through Christmas. With our 50’ Christmas tree as an anchor, we create the premier holiday atmosphere with ten large reindeer topiary shrubs, multiple Christmas trees, Christmas carolers, and live performances! Visit for a schedule of live performances.



A Downtown Holiday 2019

Brunch with Santa

Fort Walton Beach Landing Park 139 Brooks Street SE | Fort Walton Beach 12:00pm – 7:00pm

Food for Thought Outreach Full Circle Kitchen 132 Market Street | Santa Rosa Beach 10:30am – 1:00pm

This event is fun for the whole family! With our traditional City of Fort Walton Beach Tree Lighting Event at 5:30pm, Christmas shopping with local vendors and businesses, food vendors and restaurants, live entertainment, kids activities, and much more, it’s sure to be another amazing day in Downtown FWB!

Brunch with Santa will include a special Holiday Craft area for children, along with holiday decor, music and photos with Santa. Tickets will also include brunch, provided by Maple Street Biscuit Company, along with bottomless mimosas, beer or cocktails. 100% of the proceeds from this event will support our work fighting child hunger in Walton and Okaloosa Counties. Visit for more information.




Niceville-Valparaiso Community Christmas Parade

Ice Skating Extravaganza

John Sims Parkway and Partin Drive 10:00am “Kindness Connects the World.” The theme is inspired by the 20192020 Rotary International theme of Rotary Connects the World. The annual Christmas Parade is made up of participants of all ages and walks of life. Dozens of civic and youth groups, organizations, churches, businesses, and individuals will take part in the procession. Thousands of spectators traditionally line John Sims Parkway and Partin Drive along the route to enjoy the sights and sounds of Christmas.

The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd. | Miramar Beach 6:00pm & 7:30pm Baytowne on Ice is hosting it’s fourth annual Ice Skating Extravaganza! The event will feature two performances by Dylan David Moscovitch and Kristin Cowan. Both shows are free. Before and in between the shows, lace up those skates and skate around with The Pros! Dylan and Kristin will be on the ice sharing tips and tricks! Visit

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Tuba Christmas

33rd Annual Destin Boat Parade

The Village of Baytowne Wharf 9100 Baytowne Blvd. | Miramar Beach 5:00pm – 7:00pm

HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Blvd. | Destin 1:00pm - 8:00pm Join us for a unique holiday event at The Village of Baytowne Wharf in Sandestin. Enjoy some of your favorite holiday classics with Tuba Christmas and visits with Santa! It will be a night of fun for the whole Family! Visit

Visit with Santa on the Main Stage from 1:00-4:00pm before the boat parade! The Destin Harbor will be dancing with holiday lights and cheer during the 33rd Annual Holiday on the Harbor Destin Boat Parade, starting at 6:00pm. Margaritaville, Jackacudas Seafood & Sushi and Harry T’s offer the perfect spot for parade viewing. The evening ends with a bang as fireworks light up the sky! Visit for a schedule of events for the holidays.

DECEMBER 22 Celebrate Chanukah HarborWalk Village 10 Harbor Blvd. | Destin 5:00pm – 8:00pm Join HarborWalk in a special Menorah lighting featuring traditional foods, crafts, live music and more! Visit for a schedule of events for the holidays.

DECEMBER 31 Lulu’s Noon Year’s Eve Lulu’s Destin 4607 Legendary Marina Drive | Destin 10:00am – 3:00pm Join us at LuLu’s Destin’s Noon Year’s Eve for a fun fi lled day for kids and adults alike! Crafts, Kid Safe Fireworks (bubble wrap), and a Kids Magic Show are only the tip of the iceberg. When the clock strikes NOON there will be a Beach Ball Drop! Hundreds of colorful beach balls will flood LuLu’s Beach, but the excitement doesn’t stop there. Face painting, balloon animals, Captain Davy & his Pirate Crew, inflatable slide, and mmore will be at LuLu’s to start your New Year’s celebration off right. Fun for all ages to ring in the New Year!



Emerald Grande New Year’s Eve Street Party

Baytowne Countdown | NYE

10 Harbor Blvd. | Destin 7:00pm | Flash Flood 8:00pm | FIREWORKS 9:30pm | Departure- A Journey Tribute Band 12:00am | Balldrop & FIREWORKS

The Village of Baytowne Wharf | Sandestin 6:00pm – 1:00am

Ring in 2019 at HarborWalk Village’s New Year’s Eve Street Party featuring two live bands, two fireworks shows and a ball drop over the Destin Harbor!

Enjoy our family friendly evening from 6:00-8:00pm with face painting, kids activities, and LIVE music on the Baytowne LIVE stage. Ring in the New Year with an evening to remember, with two breathtaking fireworks displays at 8:00pm & midnight. Dance the night away with LIVE music from Groovy 7, featured on the Events Plaza Stage. Visit

Visit for a schedule of events for the holidays.

Visit for more events! 72 |

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VIP Destin at Grayton Beer Company

!""# $ !%&&"'( photos & story by Shanna Magnuson


n October 12, the Northwest Florida Ballet opened its 50th anniversary season with their first performance at the Grayton Beer Company in Santa Rosa Beach. A first for both the Northwest Florida Ballet (NFB) and the Grayton Beer Company to hold a ballet event at the brewery, was soldout and a full house. This more casual atmosphere allowed attendees to enjoy a mix of contemporary, neoclassical, and classical pieces. Each of these performances were choreographed by the NFB and guest choreographers. Along with the performance, guests sampled some of Grayton Beer Company’s extensive beer collection and were given some suggestions and information on their most popular beers over the past 10 years in business. Light hors d’oeuvres were also served, including a grilled cheese and tomato soup shooter. Todd Eric Allen, director of Northwest Florida Ballet, opened up the evening thanking the founder Bernadette Clements and looking forward to the golden year anniversary. A few of the performances were sneak peeks of the events to come. It was a high-energy evening that celebrated how hard the ballet students have worked, while offering continued support for the NFB.

Sandee Ballesteros & John Finch

David & Keri Gordon


Sally Smith & Jeff Landreth

Susie & Frank McKenzie

Shari & Todd Eric Allen

The Northwest Florida Ballet Dancers

Brian & Kate Christensen


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Shay Smith & Rachel Prescott

The Northwest Florida Ballet Dancers

Tony Zahn & Casey Ricks

Gerry Chambers, Fran Tait & Joann Kellogg

Mike & Heather Williams, Joanna Bonfanti

Amanda Gordon, Kathy Sculthorp & Sleta Howard

Paul Wheels, Joy Elpedes & Sharon Wheels

Natalie Schmidt, Lisa Harris & Caitlin Stolks December 2019 | 75

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LOCALE O Destin High School Launches Phase Two Of Capital Campaign Okaloosa County School District recently approved the contract for a proposed charter high school in Destin. The Governing Board can now finalize its 501 (c) 3 standing and begin with Phase Two of the Capital Campaign. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity for our community. With your assistance Destin High School (DHS) will become a reality.

Destin Mayor Gary Jarvis summed it up nicely in a recent letter of support to the DHS Governing Board saying he firmly believes that DHS will benefit area children and provide them with a quality education helping them reach their maximum potential. Further he stated that DHS will prepare students for a more promising future in hopes they will return to Destin, lay down roots and become contributing community members.

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a FIVE-STAR Recipient for Coronary Bypass Surgery, Treatment of Heart Attacks, and Pacemaker Procedures

In kicking off Phase Two, Destin High School recently received a $35,000 donation from Joseph and Davis Campbell of the Bill and Dianne Campbell Charitable Trust. The late Bill and Dianne Campbell were well-known Destin residents who founded Sailing South Watersports, operating it for 30 years, including owning the Daniel Webster schooner which is now operated by AJ’s. Sailing South is still in operation at the Destin Harbor offering boats and water sports. The Campbells were avid supporters of the community and their Trust has carried on that legacy. “As a father, education is of the utmost importance to me. On behalf of my parents, my brother Davis and I are so pleased that our parents’ Trust could help support the muchneeded Destin High School in some way,” commented Joseph Campbell. Phase One raised approximately $100K earlier this year to kick off the grass roots effort for a high school in Destin. Phase Two of the Capital Campaign will help fund acquisition of the $12.9 million Destin United Methodist Church property, site renovation, staff hiring, and other major expenses. The plan calls for DHS to open August 2020. All donations to the Capital Campaign are greatly valued and will be acknowledged publicly. Individuals, businesses, or community groups can donate anywhere from $1 up to $12.9 million. Donors of $5,000 up will receive naming opportunities including building, classroom, and campus recognition. 76

Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is 5-star rated for coronary bypass surgeries, treatment of heart attacks and pacemaker procedures outcomes according to a national report released by Healthgrades, the leading online resource for information about physicians and hospitals. This achievement is part of the Healthgrades 2020 Report to the Nation, which underscores the importance of hospital quality to both consumers and hospital leaders. Every year, Healthgrades evaluates hospital performance at nearly 4,500 hospitals nationwide for 32 of the most common inpatient procedures and conditions using Medicare data, and additional analyzes outcomes in appendectomy and bariatric surgery using allpayer data provided by 15 states. Variation in care has a significant impact on health outcomes. From 2016-2018, if all hospitals as a group performed similarly to hospitals receiving 5-stars as a group, on average, 220,019 lives could potentially have been saved and 149,403 complications could potentially have been avoided.* A 5-star rating indicates that Fort Walton Beach Medical Center’s clinical outcomes are statistically significantly better than expected when treating the condition or performing the procedure being evaluated. “Consumers have many choices when it comes to choosing a hospital where to receive care and the choice can be a matter of life and death,” said Brad Bowman, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Healthgrades. “The hospitals that have been recognized as 5-star

rated for specific procedures and conditions stand out above the rest for the ongoing dedication and commitment to providing exceptional care to their patients.” “I am proud to be associated with a hospital of this caliber. To receive a 5-star rating in Cardiac procedures and surgery is a huge accomplishment and is evident of the outstanding quality care we provide the people in our communities,” stated Mitch Mongell, Fort Walton Beach Medical Center CEO. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center was also recognized for the following clinical achievements: • Among the Top 10% in the Nation for Cardiac Surgery for two years in a row • Recipient of the Healthgrades Cardiac Surgery Excellence AwardTM for two years in a row.

* Statistics are based on Healthgrades analysis of MedPAR data for years 2016 through 2018 and represent three-year estimates for Medicare patients only.

IMPACT 100 of Northwest FL Awards $508,000 to Local Nonprofits The members of IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida voted and announced today the grant recipients for 2019 - awarding five (5) $101,600 grants. Representatives of each nonprofit organization named as a finalist were present, as well as IMPACT 100 officers and members. The grant recipients were selected from the following five categories: Arts & Culture, Education, Environment, Family, and Health & Recreation. Since its conception in 2012, IMPACT 100 NWF has awarded 2.7 million dollars to nonprofits in Okaloosa and Walton counties. The following grant recipients will be awarded $101,600 each to be used towards the betterment of their cause: Education Recipient – AMIKids Emerald Coast, Environment Recipient –Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA), Family Recipient – A Bed 4 Me Foundation, Health and Recreation Recipient – Destin Harvest, Inc.


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VIP Destin at Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club

2020 Common Sense Service Strategy

TO BUILD YOUR BUSINESS photos & story by Zhalman Harris


ustomer Service expert Teresa Allen of Common Sense Solution spoke to a group of local customer service specialists at The Regatta Bay Golf & Yacht Club on October 24. The Destin Chamber of Commerce hosted “A Common Sense Service Strategy to Build Your Business,” held to give attendees simple, yet relevant information to up their customer service game, and to meet and exceed their customers’ expectations through “Lagniappe Hospitality.” Teresa Allen was ranked one of the world’s top service experts on for four consecutive years, with two years at #1. She said her “common sense” approach was a customized service for varied guest personalities and generations, where simple strategies could turn negatives into positives in any given customer encounter. Guests who attended the forum left well-armed to put the theory to work. Each attendee received a copy of Teresa’s book Common Sense Service.

Brittany Byrd & Diana Jernigan

Lisa Buchman & Rachelle Zdan

Ken Wampler & Teresa Allen

Kay Price, Brenda Gray & Jeff Welch 78

Darla Harrison & Linda Sherman

Kathy Whidden & Elizabeth Spies

Bob Perry & Ivana Coteat


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Ed Kendust, Architect Destin, Florida

• Licensed in Florida, Alabama and Georgia • Over 40 years experience • Commercial and Residential Design


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VIP Destin at Henderson Beach Resort and Spa



!"#$%&'($)*% photos & story by Zhalman Harris

Michael Ripley & Louis Gomez


he annual black-tie Helping Heroes Gala was co-hosted by Emerald Sponsor Emerald Coast Hospice to benefit Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. The event welcomed a sold-out crowd of 340 people to the Henderson Beach Resort and Spa on the evening of October 17. A preevent VIP reception started with Laura Hussey, WEAR morning news anchor, who greeted sponsors on the red carpet. Ted Corcoran, President/CEO of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, served as the Master of Ceremonies and Steve Ferrell of HDR Engineering debuted his original song written as a special tribute. Those in attendance included many high-profile community and civic leaders, senior level military members of Team Eglin, Air Force Special Operations at Hurlburt Field, and United States Army 7th Special Forces Group in Crestview, along with retired military members and their spouses who now call the Emerald Coast home. Bobby Dove, a former Army Green Beret Medic with the 7th Special Forces Group in Crestview as part of Eglin Air Force Base, was the featured speaker. While deployed to Afghanistan, Bobby suffered great injury to his dominant right hand and right leg after he came into contact with an IED on a motorcycle patrole. His story was captured as part of a NAT GEO series, Inside Combat Rescue. Bobby recovered and deployed again seven months after his initial injury. Since medically retiring in 2014, he now owns and operates Hooligan Charters, a fishing charter located at Emerald Coast Marine in Niceville. Founded in 2008, Fisher House of the Emerald Coast, Inc. provides a home for military families when a member of their family is undergoing medical treatment at a local facility. This service is provided free of charge to families with a service member that has served in any branch of the military, and is available to retirees, guards, reservists, and veterans. Approximately 1,000 guests stay each year.

Tammy & Steve Philpot

Joseph & Tiffany Booker

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Bernard & Lisa Johnson, Melissa & Antonio Love


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Jamie Hall & Dan Mattioda

Samantha Gusoff, Aerika Waldrip, Dalisse Chulk & Jodi Otto

Alyse Williams, Erica Chapman & Maria Estatio

Tiffany Haertelt & Tracy Gregory

Teresa Halverson, Laura Hussey & Jenni Brunson

Kelly Hough, Caroline Espinoza & Karen Breeze

James & Heather Pugh

Sylvia & Alan Vazquez

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photo by Eric Vogel

What is your hometown, what brought you here to the Emerald Coast, and how log have you lived here? I was fortunate enough to have been born in Fort Walton Beach and raised in Miramar Beach. I have been here all 29 years of my life with the exception of 4 years I spent at the University of Alabama, and my current travel as a Professional Tennis Player. What led you to choose this profession? What led me to tennis is simple, it’s where I took my first steps as a child. Yes, on the courts of Destin Tennis Club at Seascape Resort. My parents have been running the tennis program there for the past 30+ years, and it’s where I spent all of my free time as a kid. Little did I know those first few steps would be the beginning of an incredible journey. At 14 years old I was the National Junior Tennis Champion, by age 17 I had played in over 20 countries which earned me a Tennis Scholarship at the University of Alabama. I obtained a degree in Public Relations at Alabama where I became 2x All American and the winningest player in the University’s program. Upon graduation, and as a professional, I have won 23 titles and competed in over 40 countries, including all four Grand Slams. Currently I am on the WTA Doubles circuit and ranked amongst the top 60 players in the world. What are some of your favorite things about Destin? Besides the soft white beaches, I love that Destin is an outdoor sports paradise, the restaurants are impeccable, and the friendliness and safeness of the community here is unparalleled. I love when people around the world ask me where Destin is, and after I show them pictures they all plan to visit this hidden gem where forest meets the sea. What are three words that best describe you? Competitive. Smiley. Dependable. Finish this statement, I AM DESTIN because… Destin is in my blood, it’s part of who I am, and has played a significant role in shaping me into who I am today. I feel extremely honored to represent our area on the biggest stage in tennis. 82


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