These aren’t my lungs,” he told his theatre classmates. It was 2013 and Brennen Reeves was facing an eager audience, speaking of an illness without a face. No one knew. Brennen, who was born with the progressive lung disease, cystic fibrosis, has fought for every breath. As a child, doctors told him he’d wouldn’t live until 18 unless he traded the old pair for the new. Not only did he survive a double lung transplant, he would invoke his own story in a oneman play entitled “Breathe. A True Story.” These are his lungs, now.

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marcfreyThis spring, I was honored to sail with veterans as part of the “Warrior Sailing Program” during the venerable Charleston Race Week. I met some of the most high-spirited young women and men you can imagine, and no matter if they lost their eyesight, a leg, or got shot several times, they demonstrated dignity and a positive attitude I sometime miss among their more self-absorbed peers. If their smiles and can-do attitude could resolve conflicts, then this is all it would take to make this a more peaceful planet! It could be reasoned that their sacrifices have made this a better world or made America a safer place, but the question that came to my mind is how much say did these young citizens have in deciding how invading Afghanistan and Iraq was going to benefit us?

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hhmteam2

Left to right: Audrey Clayton, Allison Venrick, Anuska Frey, Kelly Spinella and Mike Lupi

Dear Reader,
With school out and Father’s Day coming soon, June is a special month full of energy. Some are celebrating their long standing work in the community, like J. Banks Design, celebrating 30 years, Boys, Arnold & Company, and The Cypress for 25 years. Engagements and weddings are bustling with the start of summer, and we are excited to highlight a few gorgeous venues, brides and vendors who continually create amazing events. Father’s Day makes it a truly special month though. Capturing a special moment between father and child on the cover, we took this opportunity to take a special look at the roles fathers can take in this day and age. It’s not always the 9-5 of yesteryear any longer.

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marcofreyMy girlfriend is about to visit one of the happiest countries in the world: Iceland, land of otherworldly landscapes and geothermal hot baths. Each year, the United Nations publishes its World Happiness Index, and Iceland has topped the list each year along with the same 12 or so countries. What qualities do they share? While there’s certainly no formula for happiness, each of these countries seems to possess a strong cultural identity, a government in tune with its people and a generous welfare system. 

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Anuska mai17Dear reader,
May is generally considered a month of renewal, with nature in full bloom all around the Lowcountry. It seems an appropriate month to announce that Lori Goodrige-Cribb, the long-term publisher of Hilton Head Monthly, has decided to take on a new challenge in her life. We thank her for her many years with the company and root for her to be successful in her new endeavors. My husband, Marc, who grew up with ink in his blood, and I will take a more active leadership role while at the same time making room for a younger generation to carry forward the mission of Monthly: Connecting the Lowcountry by publishing inspiring and informative stories covering all aspects of life in the communities we serve.

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marcfrey02It’s only an 8-hour drive away yet a world apart. The first thing that hit me when I got out of the car in Miami is how blue the sky and ocean are and how the constant breezes reminded me of the Caribbean. Exactly the reasons wealthy New Yorkers started visiting via railroad as early as the “roaring 20’s” remain the reasons it is magnet for our second gilded era and a showcase for wealth inequality.

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Lance Little was still in high school when, sitting on the porch shooting the breeze, he came up with an idea that seemed far-fetched — a restaurant that cures world hunger. It was clever, but wasn’t it a bit naive? The fast-food giants were making billions, but the fry cooks came home smelling like cheap grease, earning minimum wage while the money funneled upwards. Meanwhile, even in first-world America, children were going hungry. Of course, this was high school, and Little wasn’t too concerned with the economics of the idea. Enrolled in Hilton Head Island High School’s ROTC program, he had plenty to keep him occupied, along with being an average teenager. But his idea to end world hunger would not be ignored, even as he grew up and moved on with his life.

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marcfreyRecently an engaged reader thanked us for being a dependable and relevant source of non-fake local news. The compliment made me think deeper about the topic of truth.

It is easy to assume that in the age of the internet, finding the truth would be one of the great benefits that the communication revolution has enabled. But there are several fundamentals reasons why the “truth” can be hard to determine.

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During our telephone interview, Jillian Traver is negotiating a narrow English country lane in her compact Vauxhall Tigra while chirping away about music festivals in Latvia and the rich craft of winemaking. She’s picking up her fiancé, fresh off work in London proper, at the train station and they’re driving to their very first home in a village outside the city. He hops in the car and greets me in British English that seems to have rubbed off on Traver.

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marcogrIt’s times like these, with rain and snow blurring the shrill light of fire trucks lined five deep down the Brooklyn street outside a raucous jazz session at my neighborhood pizza bar, that I recall the South.

What I cherish most are the in-betweens — some clash between open space and strange timing. One time, driving home from Charleston for Christmas on Hilton Head Island, I remember dozens of eyes suddenly shining from the median of Interstate 95. The deer had taken the quiet for their own strange church revival. I knew I wasn’t supposed to be there.

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It’s 2009, and Vijay Viswanathan is fly-fishing on a remote river in Alaska’s Togiak National Wildlife Refuge.

This is grizzly country, where glacial peaks give way to an endless sea of green scrub valleys, through which weave streams where virgin trout that have never known the taste of a steel hook die of old age. Viswanathan embarked with a small team of professional athletes and biologists carrying all they needed to live and fish for a week. “Trips like that give me the same feeling I get when skiing through fresh powder,” he said. “These are memories that will stay with me forever.”

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After sailing through the night, the flash of a lighthouse signaled hope for a safe passage to the chartered destination. For centuries, lighthouses helped sailors reach safe harbor. 

In a world that at times can feel dark and uncertain, it is more important than ever that we know how to plot our own courses and navigate ourselves and our loved ones to safe ports. How do you overcome the daily stress imposed on you by an environment that is full of noise, chaos, hatred and anxiety?

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