Ken CribbSome in the Lowcountry view Ken Cribb as a miracle worker. Many simply call him “Coach Cribb.” Most are just thrilled he doesn’t take rejection hard. Cribb, 45, became the toast of the town this fall after he led Bluffton High School’s football team to unimaginable heights: The team reached the Lower State finals to cap a season that galvanized the Lowcountry.

For Cribb, it was the latest chapter in an already-impressive multi-sport coaching career. But, the coach says, it was also something much more special. Prior to the 2010 season, the Bobcats had never beaten archrival Hilton Head Island — or for that matter won more than four games in season, let alone a region championship or a playoff game. This year, Bluffton went 12-2, beat Hilton Head twice, and won its region and three playoff games.

For Cribb, those kinds of turnarounds have become something of a speciality. “I’ve gotten labeled as a builder,” says Cribb. “I’ve taken over many teams that were bad.”

Mel GibbensMel Gibbens is a bartender who isn’t rooted behind the taps and coolers.

The Oxford, England, native assisted Thomas Viljac in the building of the Old Town Dispensary in downtown Bluffton last year — you can see his work in the carpentry, plumbing and painting — before morphing into the manager of the pub. “This is the fifth bar I’ve built. I’m quite handy with my hands,” he says.

But if he’s not manning the taps, there’s a good reason: He’s probably wandering the globe on the cheap.

Christine BohnChef Christine Bohn, owner of Christine’s Café and Catering on Hilton Head, is carrying on a longstanding family tradition. When she was just 4 years old, Bohn began learning her way around the kitchen with her grandmother, Fannie; today, one of the signature items in her cafe is named Fannie’s Chicken Salad. “It’s a tribute to her. She loved cherries,” Bohn says.

She’s paying it forward, too: between preparing weekday lunches and creating lavish buffets for events around the Lowcountry, Bohn continues Fannie’s legacy by sharing her kitchen with her grandson Mack, 6. “I let him get up to the stove last weekend and flip pancakes. He loved it,” Bohn says.

Jane JudeJane Jude is seemingly everywhere these days: serving as new host of WHHI-TV’s “Talk of the Town,” moderating debates in the recent mayoral and Town Council elections, teaching leadership classes, working with Toastmasters and singing and leading the handbell choir at First Presbyterian Church.

Indeed, Jude possesses incredible levels of energy and resourcefulness, traits that have served her family at home as well. Jude’s son, Stewart, was struck with meningitis at three weeks old, and the illness has meant a lifelong challenge. But Jude has learned to turn them into positives. “You play the hand you’re dealt,” she says, adding that she home-schools the high school senior via an online charter school. Her daughter, Amelia, is a junior at SCAD.

Jude says Stewart’s illness greatly impacted his shortterm memory early on. But one day, while riding in the car when Stewart was in middle school, she started noticing that “he knew every word to the songs.” An idea was born: Jude began teaching Stewart some of his lessons in music, and the practice paid off. “He can still sing the words to Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘If,’” she says proudly.

Dr. Patricia NorthDr. Patricia North practices what she preaches, both as a physician and a mom.

When she completed her first marathon in Chicago in October, her primary motivator was being an example to the people she most cares about: her two sons, Phillip and Clayton, and her patients.

“I was hoping to make an impression about the importance of a healthy lifestyle,” says North, 50, a native Ohioan who is board-certified in internal and geriatric medicine and has practiced on Hilton Head since 1996. She began running 10 years ago, she says, simply for the exercise benefits.

Pat GreenThere is a tragic yet life-saving byproduct of working at The Chocolate Tree for 30 years: You no longer smell the chocolate.

Pat Green, owner of the mouthwatering Carteret Street shop that since 1980 has been “sweetening the world one piece at a time,” says she’s become immune to that delicious aroma everyone else inhales with gusto when they walk in the store.

“If we’re cooking fudge or something that’s really strong, I will smell it,” she says. “And if I’m not there every day, I’ll smell it. But when I’m there all the time, I can’t. I really can’t.”

The ability to once again enjoy that delicious aroma is one more benefit of Pat’s impending retirement, set to start this summer when her sister and her son take over the business full-time.

John CrawshawJohn Crawshaw had no idea that the simple birthday gift of a book from his daughter could lead to a life-altering experience.

The book, “Odysseus Unbound: The Search for Homer’s Ithaca” by Robert Bittlestone, presents Bittlestone’s theory that the location of Ithaca in Homer’s “The Odyssey” is in fact the western peninsula of the Greek island called Kefalonia today. After reading the book in 2007, Crawshaw became excited by the idea that Ithaca could actually be found.

“I thought (the book) was a wonderful detective story,” says Crawshaw, 60, a retired Heinz executive and Sea Pines resident who earned his bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in Classics from Oxford University in his home country of England. “The idea that a special place in Greek epic literature could be discovered I found extraordinary. I wanted to join that story, if I could.”

Kathleen KaneIn 2010, Sister Kathleen Kane celebrated her 50-year anniversary in The Sisters of St. Mary of Namur. “That means I entered religious life when I was three years old,” she jokes.

Kane’s history with the church — Sisters take the same vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as nuns, but do not live behind cloistered walls — has left her uniquely qualified for her responsibilities as the Pastoral Associate at St. Francis, where she’s spent ten years. “These are challenging times for the church,” she says, “but I love to share the beauty of 2,000 years of tradition.”

Lewis HankinsLewis Hankins, it seems, was fated to become his hero.  In a 1984 performance impersonating Samuel Langhorne Clemens — or Mark Twain, to generations of readers — for his fellow law enforcement officers in Ohio, Hankins caught the eye of Russ Varvel, vice president of the Delta Steamboat Company, who was so impressed by Hankins’ work that he offered him a job as a performer with his company on the spot.

Hankins was honored — “Twain would say it bankrupted my vocabulary,” he says now — but wasn’t quite ready to leave his day job. But upon his retirement four years later, Hankins reconnected with Varvel and finally stepped aboard the Mississippi Queen — in his white suit — in January 1989. He spent the next 19 years entertaining and educating passengers. The mustache, he says, was his. “I just wish the hair was,” he says with a laugh. “I had so much fun there. I grew up on the river. I miss it.”

Dr. Jonathan SackIn 1984, Dr. Jonathan Sack was a 35-year-old physician who had been practicing for 10 years in Johannesburg. But apartheid-era tensions in his South African hometown were boiling over, manifesting themselves in racial and political violence, and Sack decided it was time to prepare an escape.

“It was starting to get ugly,” he says. “It was getting unpleasant living there.”

He and his wife, Amy, hopped on a sailboat and spent a few months cruising the world. And a fortunate jaunt up the east coast of America put them on a course straight to Hilton Head. “We stopped here for gas and never left,” he says. “I didn’t really know the place existed before.”