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November 2021

“No duty is more urgent than giving thanks.”

-James Allen

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November 2021 “Give Thanks” Contents Volume 20, Issue 11

About the Cover Artist: “The admiration of the world around me is the foundation of my work. Each new day is new emotions, new experiences, new solutions, and new creative approaches. No restrictions - only delight!” Viktoria Lapteva is an experienced Ukrainian painter with national exposure. She works in the technique of oil painting in various genres of landscape, figurative, and portrait as well as still life. She also has experience in applied textiles and silk painting. Volume, color, and condition - the foundation on which she expresses their attitude to the world and the desire to combine graphics textures, almost bas-relief elements, and traditional oil painting. This impressive painting technique creates the effect of a 3D image, which allows pictures in different lighting conditions to look like they come to life. Paintings from the boring everyday statics transformed into a refined movement. In her portraiture, Lapteva focuses on the power of the face: the soul seen through the eyes and the mood revealed at the corners of one’s lips. This captivation is something she seeks to pass onto each viewer, transmitting an appreciation of the world around us and those who inhabit it. You can purchase her works at:

4 :: :: November 2021


How Do You Know When You’ve Had a Good Thanksgiving? by Mary McClure


Sasee Gets Personal with Dr. Tonya Weber: AIM | Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine


Gobble It Up by Diane DeVaughn Stokes


Adopting an Older Child by Barbara Pierce


Sasee Wish List


Bambi Bullard: The Invisible Veteran’s Time to Shine! by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Madalyn Wellons: Love is a Four-Letter Word, but so is Hunt and Fish by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson


Thanksgiving Thievery by Lynne Latella


No Excuses: The Rise of an Amazing Woman in the U.S. Army by Gina Benson

from the Editor “May the morning sun sing to you: you are worthy of new beginnings. May an extra hour of sleep reveal to you: you are worthy of rest. May a text from a friend you haven’t heard from in a while remind you: someone does care.

Publisher Delores Blount Sales & Marketing Director Susan Bryant

May the song lyric that speaks to your soul remind you: you are not alone.

Editor Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

May every day remind you: even in the smallest shapes, there is room to practice gratitude.”

Account Executives Erica Schneider Gay Stackhouse

-Morgan Harper Nichols November is a special time to give thanks - no matter how big or small, we must find meaning in it all. This Thanksgiving, I am thankful for continuing my days with purpose. Whether my time is spent peacefully with loved ones or busy with my career, I always feel a sense of gratitude. I feel blessed to be in my role as Director of Outreach and Development for the Pawleys Island Festival of Music and Art (PIFMA). I am excited that PIFMA’s fall festival and our many outreach programs have once again been able to thrive – that our community and those visiting were given the opportunity to enjoy live music again and that our local students can now continue to interact and learn from our talented artists, live and in person. Everyone deserves to experience the arts! I am also graciously fortunate for a whole year of working with my Sasee team, the many gifted writers we publish, and the multitude of inspiring locals I have had the pleasure of interviewing. One article, in particular, you do not want to miss reading in this month’s issue is about Bambi Bullard, in honor of Veterans Day. Sasee hopes you have a blissful Thanksgiving, overflowing with love, gratitude, and of course, tasty food!

Art Director Patrick Sullivan Contributing Photographer Chasing the Light Photography Web Developer Scott Konradt Accounting Gail Knowles Executive Publishers Jim Creel Bill Hennecy Suzette Rogers PO Box 1389, Murrells Inlet, SC 29576 fax 843-626-6452 • phone 843-626-8911 • Sasee is published monthly and distributed free along the Grand Strand. Submissions of articles and art are welcome. Visit our website for details on submission. Sasee is a Strand Media Group, Inc. publication. Copyright © 2021. All rights reserved. Reproduction of any material, in part or in whole, prepared by Strand Media Group, Inc. and appearing within this publication is strictly prohibited. Title “Sasee” is registered with the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office.

6 :: :: November 2021

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How Do You Know When You’ve Had a Good Thanksgiving? by Mary McClure

“How do you know when you’ve had a good Thanksgiving?” my middle son, who had driven home from south Texas for the holiday, asked many years ago.

“Remember the year I decided we should each tell what we were thankful for before we could start eating?” I asked my son.

“Having all the family together,” I answered instantly. I didn’t even have to think about it.

By the time we went around the table, the turkey and dressing were cold, so we didn’t do that again. The next year, we tried toasts by everyone who felt inspired. The food got cold again.

Then I thought about it some more. The dinner, of course, is important. Everyone agreed that year’s dinner was the best ever. There were complaints that there wasn’t enough room on our plates to try everything. “Well, what should we not fix next year?” I asked.

The next year, we had one prayer of Thanksgiving by the elder member – and he was urged to make it brief. “No philosophy,” I whispered, as I bowed my head.

“We don’t need all these mashed potatoes,” said the son who had mashed them.

“And remember when Jake was barely four and we asked him to give the prayer. ‘Thank you for my parents and grandparents and uncles and puppies. Amen,’ he said.”

“Yes, we do!” My daughter-in-law and I said emphatically at the same time. “What would you put your gravy on?”

“Amen,” we all echoed. “That was a good prayer,” his grandfather told him.

“On the turkey and dressing,” he argued, but we protested vehemently. There would be mashed potatoes next year.

We sat companionably for a while.

I had added a new dish, a sauteed squash and pear combination. “We don’t really need a vegetable,” I said. “I don’t think I’ll make that next year.” “I love the squash,” my husband said. “Don’t leave it out.” “Do we really need all these salads?” someone asked. “There’s always so much left over.” “Of course, we do,” someone else jumped in. “We want to have lots of leftovers.” I didn’t dare suggest not having the scalloped oysters, as I am the only one who doesn’t like them.

“Maybe it’s the laughter,” I finally said, “If at least once you’ve laughed so hard the tears roll down your cheeks.” How do you know you’ve had a good Thanksgiving? When the hugs are as substantial as the dressing, the humor as tart as the cranberry sauce, when being together is as comfortable as gravy on mashed potatoes, and the love in the air is as thick as the pumpkin pie. My son and I grinned at each other. “And that’s how you know,” I said.

“One of the best parts of the dinner,” I continued my conversation with my son, “is cooking it.” The best Thanksgivings, I think, are when everyone gets there early enough to make something, to help set the table. I make a list of the dishes that have to be made and everyone signs up to make one. My husband always made the oysters, and my youngest son has taken that over. We all mill around in the kitchen, bumping into and distracting each other, talking, interrupting, laughing, and drinking wine. 8 :: :: November 2021

Mary McClure, editor of the Fort Sill Cannoneer for 18 years when it was rated among the Army’s top three newspapers, was also the first woman inducted into the Army’s Public Affairs Hall of Fame. She has received the Lawton Citizen of the Humanities Award and the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters Outstanding Achievement award for Special Programming among metro radio stations.

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Gets Personal with Dr. Tonya Weber: AIM | Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine

Dr. Weber moved to North Myrtle Beach in October of 2019 and opened AIM (Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine) shortly after, bringing her expertise in treating difficult to manage, chronic conditions to the people of the Grand Strand with a world class healing environment that supports the recovery of health and wellness. A majority of Dr. Weber’s patients suffer from some variation of chronic pain or autoimmune disease, but her specialty lies in the truly complicated conditions like peripheral neuropathy, fibromyalgia, and rheumatoid arthritis. Her patients have been told that their pain is “just part of getting older” but Tonya is here to “make their golden years golden!” As Dr. Weber makes known, there is more to healthcare than prescription pills, elimination diets, and scalpels. In her teens and twenties, Dr. Weber suffered from cluster migraine headaches. At the time, acupuncture was still fringe medicine, but with successive treatments, she went from having 3-5 headaches a week to having them only 1-2 times a year! This incredible experience combined with her scientific background (Chemical Engineering at Clemson University), ultimately led to her relinquishing her career in the family business and pursuing her doctorate in acupuncture. As Tonya thought back on her favorite Thanksgiving memories, she said, “Growing up with a family-run business, we didn’t typically take holidays off. The store my parents owned was always open on Thanksgiving (even on Christmas Day) and in an effort to make sure their employees had that time off, our entire family would work in the store to keep things up and running. Where else were our neighbors going to pick up the last-minute can of pumpkin or package of rolls? It might have been unusual, but I fondly remember those holidays, working together with my sisters and parents to make the holidays special for our community.” Dr. Weber’s Thanksgiving family traditions involve spending time with family and eating too much food. She explained, 10 :: :: November 2021

“My grandmother was always the cook for all of the holidays because my parents worked extremely long hours in their country store - like before sunrise and well into the evening (side note: I probably get my work ethic from them). Because of that, I spent a lot of time at my grandmother’s side learning to cook and prepare dishes. Now, I do my best to recreate those meals!” The menu for Thanksgiving in Dr. Weber’s family consists of some traditional cuisine and some not so traditional. “These days my mom likes to deep fry the turkey while I prepare the dressing,” Tonya continued, “But we also have oyster pie and shrimp casserole, two dishes my mom has always made for special occasions. Other menu items include mashed potatoes, sweet potato casserole with orange slices, honey ham, green beans, creamed corned... honestly, it’s too much food to list here or for one family to consume but my mom takes great pride in entertaining so I just help out where I can.” This Thanksgiving, Tonya is most thankful to still have her mom around to celebrate with. After losing her dad at a young age, she relishes any and all time she gets to spend with her. Since moving to North Myrtle Beach, Tonya’s home is the spot for family gatherings, so she plays hostess and acts as her mom’s sous chef. Tonya’s mom lives with her now so they will start cooking two days in advance - how could you not with their menu? Tonya and her mom decorate all year round! She explained, “Easter, Halloween, Fall, you name it, my mom has bought something from Home Goods that will celebrate the occasion! As far as Christmas, those decorations will start going up on November 1st! After all, my mom had 13 decorated trees in the house last year (yes 13!) so we need all the time we can get! And that didn’t include the seven outdoor trees! Christmas is such a magical time of year and I have three young nephews who get a kick of our winter wonderland, so we like to go all out!”

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Gobble It Up

by Diane DeVaughn Stokes Thanksgiving. Just the mention of this holiday has me salivating for turkey and sweet potato casserole treasuring memories of cherished family traditions. One very weird tradition I have carried into my adulthood is that the turkey is always referred to as “Willie the Bird.” My grandmother called him that and would say to her dinner guests, “Would you like Willie’s leg or his wing?” She would talk to Willie as she was slicing him up and thank him for feeding the flock. Nana’s dinners, especially those on holidays, were nothing short of perfection. Her roast turkey was golden brown and juicy, and her pies were always made from scratch! She would be mortified that I now fry our gobbler and use Pet Ritz crusts for my pies. Nana would also cringe to know that I never remember how to set a formal table without looking it up in my Good Housekeeping cookbook every single year. Martha Stewart would be appalled too. Thank goodness Nana never heard how I once left the giblet bag inside the turkey because it was my first time cooking one and I did not know about the secret stash of body parts inside the bird. But you should know that it made delicious gravy that did not need a thickening agent. I guess the wax paper did the trick! Or how about the time I placed the creamed onions on the table and the nine by twelve casserole dish exploded like a bursting dam after a hurricane! Talk about a mess that delayed the dinner! Or the fancy cloth napkins I rarely use which were covered in cat hair because one of my precious kitties made her way to the top shelf of the pantry and nested upon the stored linens. Paper napkins had to take center stage that Thanksgiving. Or the homemade pumpkin pie I was so proud of that was made from our very own Halloween pumpkin that tasted like crap. Just when you want everything to go right, something goes terribly wrong. These are bad happenings you never forget and re-live in your head every year when turkey day rolls around. 14 :: :: November 2021

But the better moments outweigh them and it’s not about the food on the table at all. It’s those around the table that made so many Thanksgivings incredibly warm and memorable that have imprinted my heart forever. Having been raised in my grandparent’s apartment, though it was small, it was always filled with family who needed a helping hand, and not just on Thanksgiving. I can’t recall a single holiday meal that did not include extra mouths to feed. My grandmother was the oldest of eleven children and she always had a sibling or two who needed uplifting. She hosted one who was going through a rough spot financially, one who had PTSD after time serving our country, and one who never married who needed to be surrounded by loved ones during every holiday season. As the years went on, my mom and dad followed suit. Every year, mom would invite a family or two for dinner who had no relatives in town so they would not be alone. There were several who came to our dinner table having lost their spouses during the year. And every single holiday, my parents donated a turkey dinner to the Salvation Army for a family in need. I learned from the best. My sister and I have followed in our parent’s footsteps by taking guests into our homes every year, making the occasion extra special. It is our way to be thankful for the abundance of blessings bestowed on us. So even though it’s a festive culinary season and I, like everyone else, easily devour way too many calories for six weeks straight, it’s really not about the food. It’s about the love we can share with others to brighten their lives. They will be so grateful they won’t even notice that the giblets were left inside the turkey or that there was cat hair on the napkins! They will just gobble up the love! And you will too. Diane DeVaughn Stokes is the co-owner of Stages Video Productions in Myrtle Beach and Host and Producer for the TV show “Inside Out” on HTC. Diane and her husband Chuck share passions for theater, travel, and scuba diving. She is the author of “Floating On Air - A Broadcasting Love Affair.”

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Join us at the Kaminski House Museum as we present Holiday Magic! Our Holiday Market will be held on Friday, December 10th from 3 - 6 pm. The annual Light Up the Lawn event will be held on Friday, December 10th at 5:30 pm. The Holiday Market will resume on Saturday, December 11th from 10 am - 1 pm. Carousel rides will be offered on Friday, December 10th from 3 - 6 pm. Rides will also be offered on Saturday, December 11th from 10 am - 1 pm.

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Adopting an Older Child by Barbara Pierce

“No! I won’t! And you can’t make me!” She hurled the words at me with all the fury in her small nine-year-old body. “You’re so mean to me! I hate you!” Taking a deep breath, then another, I told myself: “You can do this!” When this feisty little girl came to live with me a few months before, I knew it wouldn’t be easy. But I had no idea it would be this hard. Most of our time together was her raging at me. I remembered that day in the park when I met this girl who would change my life. She wore a drab, ragged dress, hanging almost to her ankles, with ugly shoes. As she swayed back and forth on the swing, I held out a peanut butter cookie to her. She took the cookie and slowly took a nibble. She looked up at me for the first time and smiled. The smile lit up her dirty face, the gap between her two front teeth. Her hazel eyes glowed, with dimples on each side of her mouth. I was hooked by that smile. I badly wanted a child, she badly needed someone to love her. I was a 42-year-old divorced woman. Our meeting was devised by Sharon, Becky’s social worker. For years, I knew that I wanted a child. I ached for a child. I didn’t want to go through the rest of my life without a child. I’d invested much in my career as an administrator in a social service agency; I loved my job. But now that wasn’t enough, my longing to have a child was huge. I called the Children’s Home Society. “Yes, we do singleparent adoptions,” I was happy to hear. I carefully followed all their requirements, including several workshops with Sharon. I learned what to expect when you adopt an older child. “This child doesn’t want to be in the situation he/she is in,” Sharon advised us. “He’ll take it out on you. Be prepared for some tough testing.” “Keep in mind that you’re doing this for yourself,” she stressed. 20 :: :: November 2021

I’d remember those words, time and time again, over the next few years. Then Sharon said: “If you’re ready to go ahead, we have a girl I think would be a good match for you. Are you ready?” Was I ready? This is something I had ached for, longed for, dreamed of, for years. But a real child scared me. Terrified me. I didn’t know much about kids, hadn’t had many in my life. No, I wasn’t ready. The two-year-old had been removed from her mother for neglect. The cute little girl was soon adopted by a family with two boys. With her happy disposition, Becky seemed perfect for them. But it was a disaster for Becky. The mother and brother were physically, verbally, emotionally, and sexually abusive to her. Becky was miserable. The beating and abuse happened most days, year after year. One day, walking home from third grade, she made a brave decision, knocking on a stranger’s door to ask for help. She was removed. Sharon placed her in a foster home and looked for a permanent home. Being the victim of abuse all those years had changed her dramatically - she wasn’t happy anymore. She never smiled, didn’t get along with people, and wasn’t at all likable. She was angry at the world. Sharon knew that inside this sullen, unhappy little girl was a child worth saving. She just needed the right family. The right family would be a home with only a mother, no other children. She didn’t know how to get along with other children; she’d never played with other children. With my calm, easy-going demeanor, Sharon felt I’d be right for Becky. I was scared to death when I first met Becky. Scared that I wouldn’t have whatever it would take to have her in my life - the guts, the grit, and the wisdom to deal with wherever she threw at me. On her first night with me, she became enraged at me, yelling and throwing things at me. But I wasn’t deterred. The next few years were the hardest of my life. It took Becky a long time to trust me, to trust that I wouldn’t hurt her, like everyone else and that I wouldn’t reject her like everyone else.

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Therapy helped us both. We had sessions with Nancy alone, then together. During one joint session, Becky howled: “Why don’t you get rid of me! Everybody always gives me away! Just get it over with!” she cried, snot mingling with her tears. One day, about four years into our relationship, Becky had a turning point, thanks to Nancy. As we walked into her office, a tiny kitten huddled under a chair. Becky was fascinated by the pitiful little kitten, shaking in fear. Nancy explained that she had just adopted him, but he was afraid of her; he was so afraid of everything. He wanted to be held and loved, but he was too frightened; he’d been hurt too many times before. Every time she tried to pick him up, he snarled, hissed, and clawed her. She wanted to pet him and love him, but he was too scared to let her. Becky listened intently, looking from Nancy to the terrified little kitten, back to Nancy. Things started to change that day. A few days later, I was surprised when she asked: “Do you think I could change my name? Rebecca’s not a good name. Nobody likes Rebecca.” “It’s not the name my mother gave me,” she added. “I want to be the girl she named, Victoria. People like her.”

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“Good idea!” I responded. She went to school calling herself Victoria. Like a miracle, she changed. She lived up to her reclaimed name.

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Wish List

Sasee is incredibly thankful for all of you, our devoted readers, and we hope all of you understand just how important our advertisers are to our magazine. Our advertisers are all local and offer unique gifts for you and your loved ones so please join us in supporting them this holiday season. Sasee encourages you all to give thanks as well as give gifts from our Wish List.

There is nothing like gathering around the warm glow of an outdoor fire pit during the holiday season – give us a call to learn more about our Castelle Outdoor Fire Pit. Custom Outdoor Furniture & Restrapping 2415 Highway 17 Business, Garden City 843-651-9633

Featuring accents created by artisans from regions throughout Mexico, Consuela Bags pair playful patterns with joyful colors & interesting textures. They are truly each a work of art, showcasing hand-embroidered textiles, papier mâché bag charms, and braided or woven bag straps. Bleu 720 Sunset Blvd. N., Sunset Beach, NC 910-579-5628

Bauble Stockings are an heirloom gift that you will love and look forward to each year and can be passed from generation to generation. Hand-stitched, needlepoint, and made for fair trade in Haiti, this miniature stocking is for a special “Bauble” or “Surcee.” It contains, or holds a clue to, the final gift of Christmas. Good Deed Goods 3579 US-17 BUS, Murrells Inlet 843-651-7979

Add a colorful Mini to any Nora Fleming stoneware, wood, or melamine base piece! Hand-painted and as sweet as can be - once you get one, you’ll want mini, mini more! Hope Taylor & Company 312 Main St, North Myrtle Beach 843-281-9650

This Lidded Jar features a bird and floral motif and is salt-fired porcelain with a sgraffito carving by Raine Middleton, 9” H x 5” W. Choose from a beautiful collection of artisan-crafted mugs, plates, vessels, and bowls. Sunset River Marketplace 10283 Beach Dr SW, Calabash, NC 910-575-5999

This unique Wall Mirror is a matte black rectangular mirror with rounded edges and a leather-like strap for accent. It is a clear glass mirror with iron material. It includes two D-ring attachment points for an easy and accessible wall mounting process. Coastal Luxe Interiors 6613 N Kings Hwy, Myrtle Beach 843-946-6644

This Sterling Silver Palmetto Necklace in opal moon has two colors available and includes the necklace. Darden Jewelers 12078-C Bypass 17, Murrells Inlet 843-651-5067

Come see our Christmas and Thanksgiving Platters by Mud Pie. They are beautiful to display or use for serving your favorite dishes this holiday season. Nye’s Pharmacy 1600 10th Avenue, Conway 843-248-5015

This holiday season is the perfect time to drink wine with bling! All you need are these beautiful, hand-crafted glasses and a bottle of your favorite wine. Design on a Dime 1918A US 17 Bus, Surfside Beach 843-232-1026

Largest Julie Vos collection in the area...we wrap and ship! Happy to shop with you on FaceTime if you are not local. Surf Unlimited Mercantile 17 Causeway Dr, Ocean Isle Beach, NC 910-579-1525

We have the most adorable Christmas gifts and stocking stuffers: books, toys, clothing, shoes, etc... Doodlebugs Children’s Finery & Gifts 800 Front St, Georgetown 843-546-6858

Make waves supporting healthy oceans: These Oceana socks feature crashing waves in shades of blue and an embroidered Oceana logo. Each pair supports Oceana and their work to restore oceans and save marine life. Forever Revolutionary 3901 Dick Pond Rd, Myrtle Beach 843-748-0058

Large 13” Plush Warmies are fully microwavable to provide hours of soothing warmth and comfort. Warmies are scented with real dried French lavender and perfectly weighted for a positive sensory experience. Choose from sloths, turtles, sharks, flamingos, red pandas, and more. Warmies make an ideal gift for all ages. Gay Dolphin Gift Cove 916 N. Ocean Blvd., Myrtle Beach 843-448-6550

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Bambi Bullard: The Invisible Veteran’s Time to Shine! by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

As a bold woman entering adulthood during the ‘70s, Bambi Bullard knew what she had to do to survive in this world – and not only has she survived, she has truly thrived. Bambi grew up in Indianapolis, Indiana, and was very aware that she was ready to learn and transform as a young woman amongst the norm. To continue her education, she knew if she joined the Military, she could accomplish her goals through the GI Bill. She laughed as she said, “and boy, did I use that benefit!” Bambi earned several graduate degrees: technology, business administration, business management, and political science/ history. The day Bambi enlisted, she came home to tell her mother, who fully supported her ambitions because she knew it was the best option for her daughter at the time. Women were not allowed in combat-type positions and the Vietnam War had also just ended so it was not as frightening of a time to join. Bambi chose the Marines because of her family history: she had a few uncles in the Marines, an aunt who was one of the only women Marines in the ‘40s, and both of Bambi’s brothers were in the Military, one in the Navy and one in the Army. Bambi wanted to throw herself into the Marines just to see if she could do it – a pattern you will easily see by continuing to read this article. So, Bambi turned twenty-one during boot camp and served fifteen years. During her time, Bambi served all over the East Coast. While in Camp Lejeune, she was assigned to the Criminal Investigation Division and was one of the first women to go through Military Police on-the-job training. She was transferred to Paris Island to become a Drill Instructor for recruits, where she flew through the ranks with three meritorious positions. She was also “frocked” for a promotion to work in the Pentagon where she specifically worked for the Secretary of the Navy. She stayed for six years and during 26 :: :: November 2021

this time in the DC area, she also volunteered to be the commander of a youth group working with underprivileged kids called “Young Marines.” After a physical issue, she medically retired in 1990. As Bambi thought back on her time spent in the Marines, a few memories stood out. She was a part of the last Woman Marine Company that existed in the Marine Corps and when she held the position of Company Gunny, she pulled one of those “better to ask for forgiveness than for permission” tactics. This was a time before women were allowed to take part in any activities for training that were combatrelated. Radically (but naturally for Bambi), she took about twenty women out to the ninetyfoot rappelling tower that you climb up and rappel off of the top ledge using a rope. Bambi was actually terrified of heights, but she knew if she put herself in a position where she would have to do it with all of these other women watching then she would have to get over it and just do it, and no surprise, she conquered it. The funny, yet ironic part of this story is when the Captain called Bambi into her office afterward and said, “So I heard you did a little thing. You do realize that’s not authorized and that women are not allowed to participate in that type of training?” and Bambi replied, “Well ma’am, maybe we ‘can’t,’ but we sure did!” Bambi could tell she was trying hard to stay serious, but she had a smirk when she ordered, “Never again!” As Bambi was on her way out the door, the Captain stopped her and said, “Make sure you add this entry into all of those women’s record books that they completed this.” Bambi helped these women achieve this recognition that was not even possible at the time and that is absolutely something to be proud of.

The other memory that came to mind was when Bambi was a part of the first test platoon of women to go out to the rifle range to see how women reacted to handling M16 Rifles and .45-Pistols. The media and reporters were everywhere because this was 1977 and women were not allowed to qualify and shoot for record until the early ’80s. Again, a proud first to be a part of. Bambi recruited, trained, and put so many women marines through classes and platoons and years later, thanks to social media, many of these women have reached out and thanked her. She said, “For so many of these women to go out of their way to find me and explain to me what an impact and difference I have made for them personally, that is by far the coolest part about my entire service.”

Even though Bambi is retired, her service to the military never ended and is far from over. Bambi understands the hardships a woman faces when leaving the service and entering civilian life. She encourages everyone who has served to take full advantage of the benefits offered and any program that helps assist through the transition process. She also wants veterans to understand how important it is to join groups and to be surrounded by others who have been through the same experiences. The research and statistics are being done and are more publicized now showing that seventy-five percent of women veterans have been subjected to some sort of assault. Military Sexual Trauma (MST) is just as prevalent for women as Posttraumatic Stress Disorder PTSD is. The Veteran’s Affairs (VA) is now recognizing this as a major issue and is making efforts to provide program resources, and although things are slowly getting better for women, those previously affected still need help. Bambi is here to provide that help as she has started and is the Commander of the Grand Strand Women Veterans since March of 2019. This group is meant to provide stability for one another and to act as an advocate for women veterans. Many veterans hit a wall in the VA system as they are often mistreated or not treated at all, and this group knows the

right people to make things happen as they should, and that is their main focus. Bambi also travels and gives speeches to shine a light on the “invisible veteran.” This topic is so important because a multitude of women veterans do not even identify as veterans. This inaccurate mindset mainly comes from the men who try to belittle women veterans by saying these women are not “real veterans” because they did not go to combat during their time serving. Bambi said, “You would not believe the number of men who try to dismiss me by saying that they completed their entire four-year tour and never saw a woman on base, but back then, the jobs were separated and now women are moving into those front-line positions. That does not mean that our roles were any less important back then, but I can at least say that we are not so ‘invisible’ anymore!” Having a support system in place is the foundation of continuing as a veteran in the civilian lifestyle and that is what Bambi is here to provide – support, honor, and respect. As Commander of the Grand Strand Women Veterans, Bambi hopes to make this organization a stand-alone nonprofit and is hoping to purchase land to provide a permanent home for women veteran retreats. Bambi is a legacy to many, but she wants this sacred space to be her true legacy. She is also the Regent of the Carolina Gold Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Murrells Inlet and because of how highly involved she is, she has the connections (and the passion) to bring this dream to life. Bambi is also a part of the Rolling Thunder and American Legion which are so much more than motorcycle riding groups. These nonprofits are well known for their charitable work for not only veterans and their families, but also children’s hospitals, schools, and scholarships. The Rolling Thunder focuses on the cause to bring full accountability for the Prisoners Of War-Missing In Action (POW/MIA) of all wars, reminding everyone by their watchwords: “We Will Not Forget.” Everything Bambi takes part in is connected and she is in business mode from the time she wakes up until the time she falls over at night. Bambi expressed with enthusiasm, “I don’t know how to retire because if I stopped, I might die. This is my purpose!” Bambi needs all of the women veterans out there to hear her message and to know there is a support system in place. At the end of our interview, Bambi graciously thanked me for this opportunity, and I thanked her for her continued, devoted service. If you are interested in joining The Grand Strand Women Veterans, please contact: Commander, Bambi Bullard - Vice Commander, Elisabeth Litvin - :: November 2021 :: 27

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Madalyn Wellons: Love is a Four-Letter Word, but so is Hunt and Fish by Sarah Elaine Hawkinson

“Hunting was never not an option in our house!” Madalyn exclaimed, “Every weekend, from September through January, you would find my dad, brother, and Papa hunting.” The Wellons family is from Conway and they all love to hunt and fish. Madalyn is currently a senior at Anderson University where she is studying early childhood education with a minor in business. After graduation, she plans to earn her master’s in education and move back home to teach school in Horry County. Until then, she visits often to spend quality time with her family, which mostly involves hunting, fishing, and cooking. Madalyn’s first time participating in the family tradition of hunting was when she went dove hunting at the age of four. Madalyn explained, “As I have gotten older, I have started to enjoy hunting more. For me, I enjoy it so much because I get to spend time with my dad, brother, papa, and my boyfriend, Addison. It also means getting to spend time outside and that is one of my favorite things to do!” During the spring and summer, you will find the whole family together fishing off their boat in the inlet or on the river. Madalyn’s mother loves to fish, but Madalyn usually does the hunting with “all of her favorite men” and right now, ‘tis the season for the Wellons’ to stock 36 :: :: November 2021

up on their meat. October through December is the best time for hunting dove and deer, which is Madalyn’s favorite season: “Dove hunting is so exciting when the birds are flying good, and I love to watch the excitement in everyone’s eyes,” Madalyn continued, “and deer season is awesome because even if you don’t see a deer, you still get to sit in nature and enjoy the silence.” The family usually goes dove and deer hunting on their property in Marion, while they prefer to duck hunt at their clubhouse in Georgetown. Thanksgiving is when the Wellons’ have a family tradition of going duck hunting because it is the opening day of duck season. Madalyn’s favorite Thanksgiving memory is from when she was young, and they traditionally had Thanksgiving lunch at her cousin’s house. Madalyn would spend the night with her grandmama the night before Thanksgiving and help her cook and prepare the feast. They recently started a new tradition where Madalyn’s grandparents and cousins come to their house instead, so she now gets to help her mom cook. Their menu is traditionally ham, rice, macaroni and cheese, squash casserole, peas, and lots of desserts! Madalyn’s mom loves to decorate the house and their final Thanksgiving tradition is to start decorating for Christmas about a week or so after Thanksgiving weekend.

Regardless of what the Wellons’ are hunting or fishing for, it’s almost always an all-day event, and being the fashionista Madalyn is, she always looks her best. For dove hunting, they will leave home, grab lunch, and then head to Marion. Madalyn will sport her camo shorts and camo T-shirt and once they get in the dove field, they will stay for about four to five hours. Deer hunting usually occurs in the afternoon and lasts until the sun goes down, so you will find Madalyn wearing jeans until it cools off enough for her to switch to her thermal camo pants. For duck hunting, they wake up very early to get on the boat and if it’s cold enough, Madalyn will be rocking her waders. They get to the spot right before the sun rises and then sit for two or three hours. The hunters return to the house just in time to have breakfast, and Madalyn believes this is the best part because the whole family is together. Family traditions are meaningful experiences and the Wellons’ understand the importance of continuing to make these memories together. They make family time a priority and have the most fun while doing so. Madalyn feels like hunting and fishing are just natural for her since everyone in her family enjoys it, and she truly believes that “being a female hunter is empowering.” She could not imagine her life without the joy her family receives from their quality time spent hunting, fishing, cooking, eating, and laughing together - these family traditions and precious memories are what Madalyn will always be most thankful for.

Thanksgiving Thievery by Lynne Latella It was a brilliantly blue-skied Thanksgiving Day, perfect for a celebration. But there was mischief afoot. Little did we know that a criminal was lurking in the neighborhood looking for an opportunity to strike. A neighbor had placed her cooked turkey on the windowsill to cool while the guests consumed butternut squash soup. When she returned to the kitchen anticipating her beautifully browned and glazed piece de resistance, it had vanished. What’s Thanksgiving without a turkey? Ruined, that’s what. The stunned and angry group was forced to be content with cheese and crackers as the main course. Was it a childish prank or a sinister neighbor’s dastardly deed? That same day, another theft ruined any possibility of dessert for an elderly couple and their family. The

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couple returned from last-minute shopping with items including two pies, which they left on the porch until they unloaded their purchases. Just a few minutes later, when the wife returned to retrieve the pies, they had disappeared, leaving only a pile of crumbs and empty pie tins. The next day, our good neighbor sheepishly solved the mystery. He told us he saw his Saint Bernard lumbering down the road and didn’t think much of it. That is, until he noticed turkey legs and wings wildly flopping from either side of his mouth. Although appalled, it was too late for him to undo the damage his delinquent dog had caused. Furthermore, he also revealed himself as the mastermind behind the purloined pies. After his dog absconded with the turkey, he trotted home with a portion of pie half spilling out of his mouth. To make matters worse, he looked totally unabashed as he continued to contentedly munch on the spoils. News quickly spread throughout the neighborhood where his dog became canine non grata. Although we thought the escapades were hilarious, we weren’t the recipients of such naughty behavior. It was agreed that the one who had the best Thanksgiving that year was the Saint Bernard. He spent the rest of the day peacefully curled up on his bed, burping and flatulating, undoubtedly with dreams of more impromptu meals in his future.

Lynne Latella loves to write articles with a humorous twist. Her writing includes memoirs, and topics such as culinary arts, animals, human interest, and spiritual enlightenment.

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No Excuses: The Rise of an Amazing Woman in the U.S. Army by Gina Benson

We had just moved into our first home. It was a brand-new neighborhood on a quaint cul-de-sac in Little River. We were excited to be in a home of our own and couldn’t wait to meet our neighbors. We could already tell it was a nice mix of people: young couples just starting families or still enjoying the newlywed lifestyle, working singles and business owners, new retirees, and some that had been enjoying retirement (and gardening and golf) for a few years…and then there was Karen! My husband met her first. He came in from going to the mailbox one early morning and announced he had just met our new neighbor. He looked a bit flushed (I thought it was just the SC heat that we were still getting used to) but when I said “Oh, what’s she like?” his face turned beet red and said, “Well, she’s a Lieutenant Colonel, an ER nurse, she’s married to a Roger who likes to play golf, has a dog and a few cats, and, um, she was wearing a silk robe.” I loved her immediately…anyone who can make my husband blush is my kind of woman! Our little neighborhood was small and friendly, so we got to know each other very well. Karen was THAT neighbor the one who got things done, the one you’d go to for advice (medical, marital, and any other kind), the one who didn’t want to hear excuses, the one who made promises and kept them. I started wondering, where did this blonde dynamo come from? What’s her story? Karen graduated high school from her small hometown of Rossford, Ohio in 1963. When other teens her age were trying to figure out their lives, potentially being drafted or holding peaceful protests to end Vietnam Karen left home in the middle of the night and made a beeline to the corner bus stop for the 12-hour journey to Fort McClellan in Alabama. She planned to join the Women’s Army Corps training. There was just one problem: Karen was 18 and at that time women had to be 21 to enlist without parental consent. She had left a note for her family and it didn’t take long for Karen’s father to find her with an urgent message for her to “come back home.” Karen was adamant about enlisting and her father reluctantly gave in and signed the consent forms for Karen to begin her military training that would turn into an illustrious career. Never one to not have a backup plan, Karen had applied and been accepted to Ohio State University. Karen followed her 40 :: :: November 2021

interest in Nursing and after a year in the Women’s Army Corps, she became a certified nursing assistant. Fortunately, her acceptance to OSU was still open and Karen became a Buckeye in 1964 where she earned her bachelor’s degree in Nursing while still on active duty. In 1967, the Vietnam War was raging, and Karen was right in the middle of it. A major escalation in the war called the Tet Offensive happened not too long after Karen’s arrival and although she had dealt with trauma, blood, and death, this took it to a whole new level. She was now seeing young men torn to pieces as they proudly served their country. It must’ve been a relief when her Vietnam tour was over and her position in the Army Nurse Corps had her heading stateside. Little did Karen know she was about to care for one of the most prominent men in history. Karen’s new post was the Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, DC, the U.S. Army’s flagship medical center in 1968. She made such an impression on the then Surgeon General of the U.S. Army Leonard Heaton by denying him, a high ranking official, a visit with one of her patients that he transferred Karen to his floor to look after a very special patient. It was there that she met and cared for the 34th President of the United States and Five Star General Dwight D. Eisenhower. Karen spent nearly a year as General Eisenhower’s caregiver and one of my favorite photos shows a laughing Karen with the General waving an American flag at his hospital room window. What she was laughing at I’ll never tell but I will say if the hospital had an HR department, someone may have been called into the office! Just before being stationed in Hawaii, Karen spent some time

on nurse recruiting duty. Peaceful protests had turned more dangerous as the country entered the 1970’s and Karen saw firsthand what protestors were capable of. She experienced everything from anti-war graffiti messages covering her military vehicle to being firebombed as she made her way through the city of Chicago. Four years in Hawaii seemed like a reprieve from all of that and it was there that she fell in love with Hawaii, found her nursing niche in the emergency department, and received her master’s degree from the University of Hawai’i. Karen’s adventurous spirit and passion for travel took her on Army duty all over the country and in 1987, she earned the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. Karen retired from the military but eventually went back to the career that she loved and at 75 years young, she’s still hustling around the ER department. Over the past few years, she did a traveling nursing stint that took her to a few states outside of her Florida home base. Whether Karen caught the travel bug being in the military or maybe she was just born with it, she’s definitely “not going to be happy unless she’s going Mach 2 with her hair on fire” (as Kelly McGillis says to Tom Cruise in “Top Gun”). Karen and her husband Roger have since moved from the Grand Strand to Pensacola, Florida, but have entrusted me to care for their little one-bedroom jewel on the beach in North Myrtle. When Karen isn’t saving lives, she and Roger are hopping military junkets (what a perk!) to destinations of their dreams (Hawaii still being one of their favorites, but they go to Europe and Australia like I travel from Little River to Murrells Inlet!) It has been my privilege and honor to know Lieutenant Colonel Karen Vinson-VanHouter. She speaks her mind; doesn’t take no for an answer; lives by the motto “actions speak louder than words”; is a true Patriot (loves, loves, LOVES our country!) and although I haven’t seen her at the mailbox lately, I’m sure she still looks great in that silk robe!


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Gina Benson Gina Benson loves cooking with her husband Jim (especially when he cleans up!) and enjoying precious moments with their daughter Liliana. Together they make a family.


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November 27th

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Protecting Tomorrow’s Environment Today. (843) 347-1651



46 :: :: November 2021

Advertiser Index AIM | Acupuncture & Integrative Medicine............................ 11 Angel Oak Nursing & Rehab Center.................... 41 Angelo’s Steak & Pasta......................... 32 B. Graham Interiors Collection........... 44 Barbara’s Fine Gifts.............................. 41 Bethea Retirement Community........... 33 Bleu..................................................... 34 BloominGails...................................... 30 Brightwater ........................................ 48 Brookgreen Gardens ............................. 5 Carolina Car Care............................... 18 The Clean Up Club............................. 45 Coastal Luxe Interiors.......................... 31 Custom Outdoor Furniture................. 12 Darden Jewelers................................... 21 Design on a Dime............................... 38 Dickens Show...................................... 47 Doodlebugs......................................... 17 Dr. Grabeman..................................... 39 Dr. Jen Othodontics............................ 16 Dr. Sattele’s Rapid Weight Loss & Esthetics Centers............................. 43 Eleanor Pitts Gifts & Jewelry............... 39 Flooring Plus....................................... 39 Forever Revolutionary......................... 42 Frame Factory..................................... 16 Gay Dolphin....................................... 35 Good Deed Goods.............................. 35 Grady’s Jewelers................................... 16 Grand Strand Plastic Surgery............... 32 The Hammock Shops Village.............. 29 Hope Taylor & Company.................... 34 Horry County Solid Waste Authority.......................... 46 Inspire Coastal Grand.......................... 28 The Kaminski House........................... 17 Laid Back Charters.............................. 15 The Lakes at Litchfield .......................... 7 LampLighter....................................... 19 Long Bay Symphony........................... 45 Moore, Johnson & Sartini..................... 3 Nye’s Pharmacy................................... 44 Papa John’s Pizza ................................. 45 Prodigy Kitchens & Baths................... 29 Pruitt Health....................................... 13 Renewal by Andersen ........................... 2 Rover Boat Tours................................. 28 Shades & Draperies............................. 33 Shine Café........................................... 39 Speech Solutions................................. 15 St. Gabriel Assisted Living & Memory Care.................................. 30 Sunset River Marketplace.................... 31 Sunspace of Myrtle Beach.................... 18 Surf Unlimited Mercantile..................... 9 Tidelands Community Hospice........... 19 Your CBD Store.................................. 21

a vibrant community to come home to.


(843) 353-6555

Independent Living • Assisted Living • Memory Care • Skilled Nursing • Rehab 101 Brightwater Drive • Myrtle Beach, SC 29579 (843) 353-6555 •