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ida-martinMrs. Ida Martin, the founder of Bluffton Self Help Inc., in Bluffton was born in the rural town of Walterboro, in the mid 1920s. Her destiny: to grow up to become a well-recognized icon in the Lowcountry. She did it one task at a time and with the spit and fire of a woman on a mission. Her mission: to assist people lacking basic needs such as food, clothing and emergency financial assistance.

dr-herrmannIn the darkest times of your life, when you are down without any visible signs of ever getting back up, Dr. Virginia Herrmann is the buoy to which you can cling. She’s no miracle worker. No one is. But she is pretty close.

“When you are dealing with breast problems, it becomes so overwhelming for the patient. You are invited into a part of their life that is very intimate. They are very vulnerable, it’s the worst time in their life for the moment, and so if you can be there with them and help them through that journey, it’s really a privilege. You’re sharing something with them that they don’t share with everybody. It’s a privilege to help see them through that,” she said. And she does.

bob-gregoryThere’s a building somewhere, mid-island. We probably shouldn’t tell you where exactly.

From the outside, its stucco interior and towering garage door betray nothing other than an architectural kinship with the all the other commercial and light industrial structures huddled around it.

artj1bA small memo tacked on a bulletin board in the science halls of Rutgers University in 1957 offered Arthur “Red Jacket” Jorgensen the opportunity to rub elbows with some of the most famous explorers of the modern age.

The college junior applied for a position offered by the National Science Foundation to participate in scientific studies during the International Geophysical Year 1957-58.

Drew LaughlinDrew Laughlin is a rabid fan of the Pittsburgh Pirates, “Rumpole of the Bailey” and jazz — the kind that “has something happening,” he says.

But Hilton Head Island’s first new mayor since 1995 is finding that he doesn’t have as much time to dedicate to those pursuits as he used to.

“People don’t realize that when the campaign is over, it’s not really over,” says the McKeesport, Pa., native and Hilton Head resident since 1977. “There’s a lot of  thanking to do, a lot of recognizing people’s efforts. I can’t just turn and forget the people who worked hard on me.”

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.