Hargray employees stay on the island to monitor local telecom network through Hurricane Matthew

Frank Boersma isn’t originally from the Lowcountry, but he’s no stranger to hurricane season. Far from it. The director of network engineering and planning for Hargray Communications hails from Michigan, has traveled the world as an officer in the U.S. Army, is a 20-year telecom veteran, and has four hurricanes under his belt. So when he volunteered to remain on Hilton Head Island as Hurricane Matthew gouged the East Coast, he had a good idea what he might encounter.

Charles Stewart1Most of the stories of Hilton Head Island’s first families are interwoven with images of lives defined by a love of community and a love and respect for the simplicity of island life. All of the families embody the value of hard work, and their stories show a determination to survive against incredible odds.

 

psdBy Pete Nardi, Hilton Head Public Service District general manager

There simply are not enough pages in Hilton Head Monthly to adequately describe the hard work, dedication, bravery and self-sacrifice of the Hilton Head Public Service District operations team — our group of utility first responders who work on the water and sewer systems. As general manager of the service district, I would like our community to know that it is the people of the Hilton Head Public Service District who provide vital tap water and remove and recycle wastewater.

Early on the morning of Saturday, Oct. 8, Hurricane Matthew roared ashore Hilton Head Island as a Category 2 storm. It was the first devastating storm to hit the island in years, and it caused devastation in the Lowcountry and as it worked its way up the East Coast.

Tornadoes, torrential rain, storm surges and strong winds ripped the island apart for more than 12 hours before the storm moved on. Forty-six people — 26 in North Carolina, 12 in Florida, four in South Carolina, three in Georgia, and one in Virginia — died in Hurricane Matthew. Hilton Head was lucky.

By the time Anuska Frey first visited Hilton Head Island in 1987, she spoke six languages. Anuska was a young Slovenian-born nurse working in Zürich, Switzerland, when she met her husband, Marc, son of a  Swiss publishing dynasty. Beeing fluent in several languages led Anuska to an opportunity to change her profession and become an assistant to the dean of the faculty at the highly regarded International Management Institute in Geneva, where she managed administration for international seminars in Geneva, Singapore and Hong Kong.

Tucked under a canopy of trees at the crossroads of William Hilton Parkway and Mathews Drive on Hilton Head Island is the 2.8-acre plot of land that is home to the oldest standing structure on the island: the Baynard Mausoleum, part of Zion Cemetery. The mausoleum and cemetery are a great source for information on the community’s history, and the lives of people who made the present possible.

My recent experience as a transplant from Florida to Hilton Head made me think about myself — where I had been, and where I was going. Beyond that, like most people, I began to reflect on who I am, who my ancestors were, where they came from, and what their lives were like. How much of me is inherited from them? What character traits and dispositions did I inherit that make me, well, me? 

In the past few years, genealogy research has become incredibly popular, thanks in part to television shows like TLC's “Who Do You Think You Are” and PBS' “Finding Your Roots” and “Genealogy Roadshow.” Even comedians like George Lopez on “Lopez Tonight” have made tracing celebrity DNA a hot topic. Suddenly, knowing your family history is considered cool, and now the information has become more accessible and user-friendly.

In July, I stood on site with many others to celebrate the opening of the Bluffton Parkway flyover. This flyover will reduce traffic using U.S. 278 near the Hilton Head Island bridges by about 25 percent and is a key part of a longer-range plan to provide island residents with an alternate evacuation route (which, of course, is still dependent upon extending Bluffton Parkway from S.C. 170 to Interstate 95).

"Boxing," Sugar Ray Leonard wrote, "is the ultimate challenge. There is nothing that compares to testing yourself like the way you do in the ring."

“The fight is won or lost far away from witnesses—behind the lines, in the gym and out there on the road, long before I dance under those lights. — Muhammad Ali