What makes a person intriguing?
Every day we come across people that fascinate us. They arouse our curiosity. We hear about them and want to know more. What they have done or said stimulates conversations.

intriguing-people2014

What makes a Person Intriguing?

According to Webster’s Dictionary, it’s someone that has the capacity to fascinate us, to arouse our curiosity. The people profiled here range from a 17-year-old pilot to a 73-yearold skater dude. One of these people represented Japan in the Summer Olympics. Another distributes 3-D art through Walgreens. Take a closer look at these people, These intriguing people living around us here in the Lowcountry.

warner-peacockAs a boy, Warner Peacock spent weekends driving around with his car salesman grandfather “prospecting” for customers. As a teenager, Peacock helped at his father’s GMAC dealership. With ties that deep, he never really stood a chance at doing anything else for very long.

“I keep getting drawn back into it,” Peacock said. “It’s a hard business, but I think I’m pretty good at it.”

There are plenty of numbers to back up that claim. The New River Auto Mall, for which Peacock is President and CEO, sells about 600 cars a month at its 14 store fronts and employs more than 300 people.

Peacock began acquiring and operating car dealerships in his home state of Florida in 1985. Over the years he has dabbled in other kinds of investments; he is involved in the real estate business, and is a founding board member and former board chairman for Orange Bank of Florida.

stan-smithTennis legend Stan Smith relaxes on a couch in his spacious, earth-toned home in Spanish Wells that opens onto Broad Creek, looking as if could still trade serves and volleys with the best of them.

Lean and long-limbed, with powerful hands and a slightly roguish mustache that helped make him instantly recognizable to a legion of fans in the 1970s and beyond, the one-time greatest player in the world speaks in polite and measured tones as he reflects on a life in tennis and his status as one of Hilton Head’s most highly regarded residents.

“I still play a bit, or try to remember how to play, at charity events and sometimes with the kids,” said the smiling co-founder of the Smith-Stearns Tennis Academy. Located in Sea Pines, the academy has been a focal point for aspiring young players (age 10-18) for the past decade.  Smith and his spouse, former competitive player Marjory, first arrived in 1971, right after his Grand Slam victory at the U.S. Open. Smith was brought here at the invitation of developer Charles Fraser, who was looking to improve tennis amenities on the island. “I came to visit, fell in love with the place and we’ve been here ever since.”

patty-maurerMaurer’s credentials are impressive. She holds a bachelor of fine arts degree in dance and a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, with an additional advanced fine arts teaching certification from the state of South Carolina.

In 2006, Maurer started the dance department at Hilton Head Island Elementary School for the Creative Arts. Two years later, she was named one of South Carolina Arts Commission’s top 40 Arts educators.

She has performed in theaters in the United States and as far away as  Japan and Korea. Local residents have applauded her performances in the arts centers’ productions of “The Producers,” “A Chorus Line,” “My Fair Lady,” and “Sweet Charity.”

Through her work as president of The Island Council of the Arts, teachers, parents and students have come to know Maurer as a devoted champion of the arts, a tireless fund raiser, and a devoted advocate for talented young people in our local schools who are pursuing advanced education and training in art related professions.

Maurer says she grew up with very few resources to promote her love of the arts, which may be the reason she devotes so much of her time, energy, and creative talents to provide a different climate for artists in our community. Maurer’s goal is to showcase excellence in the visual, performing and literary arts. So, each year she is involved in the premiere arts gala in our community, “An Evening of the Arts,” held this year at the Sea Pines Country Club, designed to raise funds for artist-in-education residency programs, scholarships, and the Island Council of the Arts teacher grants.

nan-staffordHilton Head isn’t just fun for humans. Loggerhead turtles find this homey little island quite comfortable as well. So comfortable, in fact, that they’ve been coming around these parts for years and years to lay their eggs and start new generations. And one resident enthusiast, Nan Stafford, grew up loving these sea creatures so much that she wanted to ensure they stuck around for years to come.

“I named my store Loggerheads for two reasons. One of them is that I love loggerheads and I think it’s really cool that they come back to where they nested from in about twenty to twenty-five years. Another thing that is kind of cool about them is that they go hang out in West Africa for about that long, and then they come back to the island where they were hatched and lay their own eggs.”

This Hickory, N.C. native does quite a bit of traveling herself.

“I live half the time in Virginia, and half the time here. My husband and I own a company that provides in-home services for people with mental disabilities throughout the whole state of Virginia.” Taking care of people comes naturally to Stafford. Having spent her life in healthcare, Stafford uses her retail chops to care for another group of people

“Half of the items that we sell in the store are fair traded from third-world countries,” she said.

She carries a  variety of products, ranging from jewelry to kitchenware, most of which are hand-crafted by artists in third-world countries. She sells them in an effort to raise awareness and help their local communities. But it isn’t the housewares and décor that make Loggerheads sensational. It’s the turtles themselves.

“We try to get folks to adopt nests from the store (in relationship with the Coastal Discovery Museum). They tell you where the nest is, what mile marker it is at on the beach, they tell you when it was laid, and then they send you an email telling you how many turtles came out of it and hatched. It’s cool to do with your kids,” she said.

mark-bakerTake a look around you. If you are on Hilton Head reading this, just glance to your left and right. Mark Baker probably designed that.

See that development over there? Mark Baker probably did that too. Oh, you live in Hampton Lake? Mark Baker. Your daughter plays soccer at Florida State University’s intramural fields? Mark Baker. You get drinks on the weekend at any of the Marriots here on island? Mark Baker. He is one of the most sought-after land developers in the southeast. And South America. And the Caribbean. And, boy, is he good at it.

“I grew up in South Georgia where we were always outback boating and camping and canoeing and hiking on the Sewanee River and the Okefenokee Swamp. It was a really wonderful sort of outdoor experience. I studied art all through high school. And went to the University of Georgia to study landscape architecture and just fell in love with the career, which really gave me the opportunity to connect my love of art with my love of the outdoors. It’s really architecture of the land,” he said.

He speaks of his fondness for the outdoors and how that shapes the way he works today. When you appreciate your surroundings, it is easy to enhance them.

lowcountry-boilWhen local bluegrass band Lowcountry Boil was created, it was a warm-up session before rock band Daly Planet concerts. About 15 years later, Daly Planet no longer exists, but Lowcountry Boil has survived as one of the longest-running bands in the area.

On a seasonally perfect October evening, the four fast-fingered musicians played for a crowd of a couple hundred people around the Neptune statue in Shelter Cove. The mix of timeless classics and favorite originals appealed to a diverse audience, most of which had never heard of the band.

The covers and humor, with the serious musicianship Jevon Daly, Mike Daly, Andy Pitts and Gary Pratt share when they’re playing together, make the band one of the most flexible, family-friendly bands in the area.

“No one will ever quit Lowcountry Boil,” says guitar player Pitts. “It’s our baby. We’ve had this thing. We’ve cared for it and nurtured it.”

Pitts, who plays in hard rock band Silicone Sister with Jevon Daly and Pratt, said he looks forward to Lowcountry Boil concerts.

“It rounds out my musical personality, gives me legitimacy as a musician,” he said.

That feeling is carried through all the members, who use Lowcountry Boil as an opportunity to expand their skills and try techniques they might not have the chance to otherwise.

john-jacobsMost people are lucky enough to achieve success in one career their whole lives. John Jacobs is currently on his fifth.

Starting out as a teacher, becoming an administrator, segueing into a twenty-six year career with National Starch and Chemical, utilizing those skills to found a distribution and packaging logistics company, and now settling into small-business ownership quite nicely with his wife, Ramona Fantini, his success in seemingly everything that he does is a direct reflection of his outlook on life.

Just crack open one of the books from his children’s series. Oh yeah, did we mention he’s a published author? He writes about a girl, Sandy Stockings, in search of the right path to follow. Though she is only in middle school, her life experience and trials seem grown-up. One character in the series who sounds a lot like Jacobs, says “We improve when we apply ourselves.

“Chances will keep coming by, but you should snap them up whenever you can. Be open to them. No one will ever be fully prepared, but when opportunity comes your way, you’re just going to have to take it.”

Jacobs appears to have perfected the art of positivity, imparting a little optimism in everything he does. From his book characters to his career choices, Jacobs has no problem showing what is most important to him. “I always say ‘family first and you will never go wrong or have regret in life.’” A token of wisdom that should be written in every book, if you ask us.

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.

Martin, known by the locals as that woman who lives in the big house on Bruin Street, opened her heart and her home to the people living in her community. For the past 27 plus years, she has moved from sharing the food out of her own refrigerator to the current 6,500-square-foot building located at 39 Sheridan Park Circle in Sheridan Park. The impact she has had on people’s lives can only be measured by the stories they tell about her.

Jerry Holmes, a local resident and a regular figure at Bluffton Self Help, owes his life to  Martin. After a few days of absence, the volunteers and staff became concerned about his whereabouts. Martin was called and the search began. She rallied her local residents to seek and find, and they did. Holmes was near death in an abandoned home just feet from a sidewalk on the corner of Bruin and Highway 46. He  had been lying there for more than three days with no food, water or way to call out for help. He was rushed to the hospital. Martin, true to her nature, went one step further. She made sure Holmes had a real home to go to after his hospital stay. Today, he is living with his brother and volunteers almost daily at Bluffton Self Help.

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