A friend recalls that when he first arrived on Hilton Head Island, several civic meetings brought him an acquaintance with longtime mayor Tom Peeples. He heard Tom answer a question about the gated communities here by saying that the residents of these communities were Hilton Head’s greatest source of charitable giving – measured in both money and time spent in service.

Morbi vitae purus dictum, ultrices tellus in, gravida lectus.

Tom’s perspective for seeing this was excellent. He served the public well enough himself to become Hilton Head’s longest-serving mayor, at 15 years, and the only mayor ever to be reelected. Years before, as a young laborer, Tom commuted from Ridgeland to help build some of the original Sea Pines buildings, including structures you see in Harbour Town. He remained a builder here for 50 years.

The Proof is All Around

The October 12 fundraiser, Fun with the Fox, presented in the plaza of The Shops at Sea Pines Center, benefits the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find a cure for Parkinson’s disease. Testifying to the truth of Tom’s observation about Hilton Head Islanders’ spirit of giving, Fun with the Fox is just one facet of the dedication that VIVID Gallery artist Jeff Keefer devotes to this cause.

“I found there were several organizations supporting the search for a cure,” Jeff said. “That surprises some people, because Michael J. Fox has done so much to raise awareness of Parkinson’s disease, but they aren’t alone in the field. What set the Fox Foundation ahead to me, was the way they orchestrated efforts. Seeing that discoveries are shared and that findings add up, that’s why I chose to put my work behind the Michael J. Fox Foundation.”

“Fun with the Fox is one of dozens of ways that the national effort gets personal and local,” Jeff pointed out. “We intend to make it a yearly event.”

Jeff donates all the proceeds from the sale of his art photography at VIVID Gallery to the Michael J. Fox Foundation to find a cure. The sheer generosity of such an enterprise might seem phenomenal, and yet friends see it coming straight from Jeff’s gratitude, for having the chance to help.

Sharing the Harmony

Joining together for good is a theme that runs through the musical attractions in store for Fun with the Fox on October 12. Singer-songwriter Sara Burns reached out to her colleague, Taylor Kent, to form the nucleus of the joyful sound that Fun with the Fox attendees are looking forward to enjoying. The story of Sara’s and Taylor’s decision to collaborate, rather than compete, despite their individual composing, performing, and recording commitments, is an extraordinary tale. For Fun with the Fox, they recruited an exceptional ensemble of local musical artists that includes, Zach Stevens, Charlie Simpson, and Nate Douglas.

Through this event we see generations of the generosity that results, when people realize how fortunate we are to live here. The gratitude that comes from the chance to live in paradise ripples out this way to help others and to make our life here even richer.

The Shops at Sea Pines Center has been a setting for this chemical reaction – from gratitude to generosity – for as long as we can remember. This too is something we notice and give thanks to see.