Eric Turpin
When you meet people living low-key lives in such a leisure-loving setting like Hilton Head Island, it’s easy to forget that our community is filled with people who had impressive, high-powered careers in the past. What’s also great about our community is that even though, for the most part, we are a retirement community, many retirees aren’t spending their days relaxing or playing golf; they’re working every day and generously sharing their talent and experience with the community.

Arthur Blank

Arthur Blank’s love for Hilton Head Island runs deep. In 1974, he and his family were living in Savannah, where he was running a chain of successful drug stores that were originally a pharmaceutical company founded by his parents, Max and Molly Blank. When Arthur Blank and his family moved from Savannah to Los Angeles, he met Bernard Marcus, who was running a chain of home improvement stores, and the two men co-founded The Home Depot in 1978. But Blank still felt the call of the salt water.

PHOTO: Pictured from left; Floor: Truth Rivera, Tiam Rivera. Bench: Helen Ford, Georgia Orage, Braalyn Miller, Helen Green, Earl Drayton. Standing: Gleena Green, Willie Mitchell,  Sonya Jenkins, Gloria Murray, Herbert Ford, Audrey Jenkins, Kiona Jenkins, Taj Hamilton, Veronica Miller, Shani Green Cynthia Mitchell, Tyler Hamilton, Martha Drayton, Charles Perry, Jaala  Miller, Brandon Miller, Faquita Rivera and Thelma Byas.

Felton MontgomeryPatricia Felton-Montgomery cruised to victory Nov. 8 to become one of the new faces on the Beaufort County Board of Education.

She defeated incumbent Paul Roth in her first run for political office to represent District 6, which spans the Okatie and Sun City areas. Felton-Montgomery, 70, is a retired educator of 40 years and has lived in Beaufort County for three years. She serves on the board of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, is secretary of the local chapter of Delta Sigma Theta, and is a member of the League of Women Voters of Hilton Head Island/Bluffton Area.


Jill McAdenFinding educators an ongoing problem for Beaufort County School District

School districts across the nation are struggling to fill teaching positions, and the Beaufort County School District is no exception.

“No district in South Carolina is immune to the shortage,” said Alice Walton, Beaufort County School District’s chief administrative and human resources officer. “No district in the country, typically, is immune to the shortage.”

Christina GwozdzAfter longtime Beaufort County school board member Laura Bush decided not to seek re-election in 2016, four political newcomers competed for her seat. When the dust settled Nov. 8, Christina Gwozdz emerged as the victor.

For the next four years, Gwozdz will represent District 9, which spans Bluffton, Pritchardville and Daufuskie Island. The 58-year-old ear, nose and throat doctor has lived in Beaufort County for 27 years. She and her husband have three sons. She is a founding owner of the Outpatient Surgery Center of Hilton Head, president of the S.C. Society of Otolaryngology Head and Neck Surgery, and a representative on the S.C. Medical Association’s House of Delegates. She can now add Beaufort County Board of Education member to her list of accomplishments.


Elizabeth MacMurray knew early on what she wanted to do for a living. With two teachers for parents, the Hilton Head Island woman has fond memories of spending time at school with them, pretending to teach her own students.

As a child, she would write on the chalkboard in her mother’s classroom after school. She loved playing with a neighbor who had her own chalkboard, and lining up her stuffed animals — along with her little sister — on many occasions for pretend classes at home.

Four percent. It is a figure that both angers and empowers Brandon and Caroline Arrieta. A number they never had to consider before the diagnosis, when they were consumed with running a successful restaurant and raising their four kids.

PHOTO: From left, the Arrieta family: Leah, Caroline, Cotesy, Brandon and Brandon Sr.a

Sitting: Jamila Ferguson Griffey, Jamari Wright, Julia Johnson and baby Marcel Johnson, Jei'Lani Wright, Ruth Ferguson Aiken Standing: Daniel Ferguson, Michelle Aiken, Benjamin Perry, William Perry

In a world where we need to be reminded, often through puff pieces at the end of the nightly news, that service and honor do exist, it was a pleasant surprise to find several examples within the Ferguson family right here on Hilton Head Island. The old saying that an apple doesn’t fall far from the tree is unquestionably true with the Fergusons. This family proves that family traits can run deep, living on in the roots and branches of a family tree, providing a rich, strong foundation that can grow for generations.

Mary Briggs hhioThe president and CEO of the Hilton Head Symphony Orchestra talks music, travel and raising seven sons in the land of the midnight sun.

If you’re a patron of the arts, you should already know Mary Briggs. Her exemplary service as president and CEO of the Hilton Head Island Symphony Orchestra has helped steer the organization through the perils of the Great Recession and into a prosperous future.