Kids give parents special gift

0510_mvpThink you’ve got the perfect Mother’s Day gift? One local mom may have you beat. And, it doubles as a Father’s Day gift, too.
Hilton Head Island residents Jack and Barbara Finnegan will travel on an all-expense paid vacation for six days and five nights to the Reefs Hotel and Club in Bermuda this July — all thanks to their son, Tim and his wife, Caroline.
After spending their honeymoon at The Reefs, Tim and Caroline heard about a contest the resort was running encouraging past guests to “Show Your Love” of the resort or island in a submitted essay.

“My wife and I originally considered submitting an entry for ourselves, but we struggled to find the right story to tell,” said Tim, who, along with Caroline, are Monthly’s MVPs for May. “As we thought more and more about it, I threw out the idea of submitting an entry for my parents. My wife’s response was, ‘They would definitely win!’ ”
Tim and his wife — and pretty much anyone they asked — felt that the Finnegans were more than deserving of a sunny vacation. As parents of six children, the Finnegans have lost two sons to untimely deaths in the past two decades, and they also take full-time care of their disabled 31-year-old son.
Tim’s story also explained that The Reefs resort has become a family tradition. His parents, he and his wife and his sister and her husband have all spent their honeymoons there.
Now the Finnegans, who have returned to the resort several times to celebrate their anniversary, will celebrate their 42nd anniversary there this summer.
Tim said the hardest part of the whole experience was keeping the entry under the 300-word limit. That, and not letting the cat out of the bag that he had entered his parents in the contest and later that they had ultimately won.
The Reefs received more than 600 entries for the “Show Your Love” contest. Those entries were narrowed down by a panel of judges to a group of seven finalists that were then voted on by the general public. More than 3,000 people submitted votes and the Finnegans’ story received more than a third of those votes. Suffice to say the story was a winner.
The way Tim informed his parents could be described as a winner, too. He told them at his older brother’s wedding reception last March. “We wanted to take advantage of having a lot of their friends and family members around who had helped spread the word about the contest.”
Tim pulled the entry up on his laptop so everyone could read it.
The reactions were full of emotions — not the least of which was excitement.
“When we found out, we cried like babies,” Barbara Finnegan said. “We were so proud of Tim. He really wrote a beautiful story.”
To read Tim’s essay, “Family Honeymoon Tradition,” visit