ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Employees Receive Awards & Accolades
ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals ended 2017 on a high note by garnering several awards and accolades. On Dec. 15, the Perdido Key office of ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals’s Gulf Region was named Large Business of the Year for 2017 by the Perdido Key Area Chamber of Commerce at its Keys to Success Awards event.Kerry Pelletier, general manager for the Perdido Key area, and Sherri Spikes, business development manager, accepted the award (left). On Dec. 6, the Navarre Area Board of Realtors (NABOR) honored Liz Horton (center) as NABOR Affiliate of the Year. Horton has worked with ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals since 2009 and has been working Business Development based in the Navarre office since 2014. In October, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals was voted Best Vacation Rental Company for 2017, and Tops’l Beach & Racquet Resort was named Best Tennis Resort on the Emerald Coast for 2017 by readers of Emerald Coast magazine. Tops’l general manager Mike Speicher and longtime tennis program director Joe D'Aleo (right) accepted the award for Tops’l.
Emerald Coast Theatre Company Continues its 5th Anniversary with Spring Programming
Emerald Coast Theatre Company invites theater lovers of all ages to find their place on the stage. ECTC announces details for its 2018 Spring Classes, which offer “something for everyone.” The roster of seven different theater programs for spring 2018 follows below:
ECTC Little Rascals Program – “Once Upon A Rhyme”
Pre K (4 year-olds) – 1st grade (6 year-olds)
ECTC Kids Program – Roald Dahl’s “Willy Wonka Kids”
1st – 3rd grade and 3rd – 5th grade
Creative Dramatics: Acting for Elementary Students
3rd – 5th grade
ECTC Homeschool Program – “Aesop’s Fables”
2nd – 6th grade
ECTC Teens Program – Disney's “High School Musical Junior”
6th – 10th grade
ECTC Jr. Thespian Troupe Program – “The 10 Best/Worst Things About Middle School”
ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Supported Several Causes Across Northwest Florida in Fall 2017
In the company’s continued dedication to its local communities, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals closed out 2017 by supporting several fall charity events in Northwest Florida. From fundraisers and walks to organized volunteer days, the company showed its support for the following causes:
-Golf enthusiasts had the chance to hit the links with dozens of sports legends like Ed “Too Tall” Jones, Pete Smith, Jim McMahon, Von Hayes, Rick Reuschel, other celebrities and several Gold Star parents during the 21st Annual South Walton Celebrity Golf Classic in October. All proceeds benefitted Operation Renewed Hope Foundation.
-In September, ResortQuest showed its heart by forming a team of walkers for the American Heart Association (AHA) 2017 Heart Walk. ResortQuest’s efforts helped the AHA raise approximately $79,000.
-The Chris Kyle Frog Foundation (CKFF) was founded by Taya Kyle to honor the life and legacy of service of her husband, “American Sniper” Chris Kyle. ResortQuest sponsored several Revitalization Retreats for CKFF in the fall aimed at reconnecting military and first responders with their spouses.
-Wyndham Vacation Rentals’ entire Gulf Region participates in an ongoing campaign to support the United Way. Each year Northwest Florida employees participate in the United Way of Okaloosa Walton Counties' Day of Caring. This past September, 94 employees formed seven teams and tackled a range of meaningful community projects, such as painting, landscaping, cleaning flower beds, window washing, cleaning school buses, and more.
-In October, ResortQuest asked its employees to “think pink” to raise awareness and funds to help cure breast cancer. A team of 30 staffers donning pink shirts did their part by participating in the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer 5K Walk. In addition to the company’s sponsorship donation, employees organized a raffle of pink packages that raised an additional $2,474 for Making Strides of the Emerald Coast.
-In December, ResortQuest employees got in the holiday spirit by supporting the 39th Jingle Bell Jog 5K/10K benefitting Chapter VII of the Special Forces Association.
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast Welcomes First Baby of 2018
With the arrival of Kaylani Toro, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast welcomed the first baby of 2018 at the Family Birth Place. While many folks were ringing in the New Year with friends and family, one local woman was counting down the moments as she labored to bring her first child into the world. Kaylani Toro, became the first 2018 birth in Okaloosa/Walton County, born at 2:24 a.m. on New Year’s Day.
Café Thirty-A Raises Over $22,000 for Caring and Sharing of South Walton
To raise monetary help for a local charity, Café Thirty-A recently held its annual Christmas Soirée. The 2017 Café Thirty-A Christmas Soirée was held on Dec. 1, where all proceeds from the event were donated to Caring and Sharing of South Walton, an organization which provides food and financial assistance to area families and individuals in need. In total, $22,127 was raised for the organization.
Tee Off for Toys Gives to CIC Children for the 6th Year
The Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort played Santa to the kids living at the Children in CrisisNeighborhood by having the Christmas “Tee Off for Toys” campaign. This is the 6th year in a row and the collection gets bigger each year. Thanks to the awesome donations from golfers and supporters, the kids at CIC will have toys so they will have a great holiday season and 2018.
Destin Resorts Inc. dba Dale E. Peterson Vacations Sells to Emerald Coast Resorts
After more than 30 years in the full-service vacation rental, property management, and real estate business, founder Dale Peterson (left) has sold Destin Resorts, Inc. dba Dale E. Peterson Vacations to local Destin businessman Bart Begley (right). Begley, an experienced and successful entrepreneur who also owns Grand Fitness, LLC, an elite health club located at Grand Boulevard Sandestin Town Center, is elated to continue and build upon DEPV's tradition of excellence. Begley will be an active owner with the company. He will oversee all of the operations and work with the team to develop growth and improvement strategies.
Bands of 30A Second Community Concert Raises $5,200 for Food For Thought Outreach Inc.
To raise monetary help and awareness for a local charity who needs community support, Bands of 30A recently hosted a second fundraising concert. The Bands of 30A concert was held at the Seaside Amphitheater on Dec. 17, where all proceeds from the event were donated to Food For Thought Outreach Inc. The event raised more than $5,200 through ticket sales from those who gathered to enjoy live music by local artists throughout the day. The lineup included Casey Kearney, the Graytones, Jacob Mohr, Luke Langford Band, and Will Thompson.
Pediatrician Joins Sacred Heart Medical Group in Miramar Beach
Pediatrician Prabha Swamy Weiss, MD, has joined Sacred Heart Medical Group’s regional network of physicians and will be based at the Mack Bayou offices in Miramar Beach. Weiss is board-certified with experience providing a full spectrum of inpatient and outpatient pediatric care. She received her Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry (cum laude) with a minor in Chemistry from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. She then received her medical degree from Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center in New Orleans. Weiss completed her residency training in general pediatrics at Arkansas Children’s Hospital and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences in Little Rock. She is a member of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Medical Association. Weiss has a special medical interest in early childhood development and strives to advise and educate her patients and their families regarding proper diet and hygiene and effective disease prevention methods.
Restaurant Paradis Raises $800 for Children’s Advocacy Center Restaurant Paradis held its 3rd Annual Prohibition Repeal Wine Dinner, benefiting Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, on Dec. 9. Through ticket purchases and bar sales, $800 was raised for the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center. The money will go towards ECCAC’s mission to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect our children in Okaloosa and Walton Counties, and restore the lives of child abuse and neglect victims. Seen here (left to right) are Julie Hurst, Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center; Kim Henderson, Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center; Sous Chef Simon Sullivan, Restaurant Paradis; Chelsea Fox, Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center; Chef Mark Eichen, Restaurant Paradis; and Monica, Dylan, and Danny Cosenzi, Restaurant Paradis.
Stubbs Orthodontics Announces New Orthodontist Dr. Li-Ping Chew
With the growth of Stubbs Orthodontics and the recent opening of the Miramar Beach location, Stubbs Orthodontics announced new team member and orthodontist, Dr. Li-Ping Chew. Chew’s personal treatment experience at the orthodontist as a young girl made a lasting impression, and since then, she has wanted to provide beautiful smiles to others that last a lifetime. She graduated from the Mayo Clinic for her orthodontic training, where she was accepted as the only dentist in the nation for the three-year program. She recently achieved her board certification as an orthodontist through the American Board of Orthodontics, and since then her education has allowed her to treat a multitude of orthodontic issues. Seen here are Chew and Dr. Casi Stubbs.
Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican Grows Team by Five Agents and Recognizes Agent Accomplishment
Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican is pleased to announce that six new agents have joined its firm and one agent has been certified to be a Military Relocation Professional. After graduating from Virginia Tech in 2003, Courtney Harris (left), moved to Savannah, Ga., and began her career as a property manager of luxury condominiums. It was while she was living in Savannah that she met her husband whose career brought them to Panama City Beach. Passionate about the water, boating, and condominium management, moving to Panama City Beach was a natural fit. Harris has been a community association manager in Florida now for 10 years. She recently obtained her real estate license to further educate herself and allow her to assist sellers, buyers and investors in the residential market.
Julie Morrill (second from left) comes to Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican from across the pond. Originally from the UK, Morrill married into the military where she moved with her husband many times. Due to her family constantly changing locations, Morrill understands the trials and tribulations ensued in being a military family. Because of this, she has dedicated herself to her customers and making the buying process as fluid as possible.
Sean Humble (left center) hails from the great plains of Dallas, Texas. Having moved to the area in October with his wife and son, Humble knew he wanted to begin a long career in real estate. Humble’s concentration is from Pensacola to Panama City Beach and mostly focuses on residential transactions.
An Ohio native and Buckeyes fan, Wendi Townsend (right center) spent 12 years vacationing on the Emerald Coast and six years ago decided to make it her permanent home. Townsend began her career working for Home Depot and then transitioned into construction. She will now be working for Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican out of its Seagrove office; however, she will not be limiting herself to that zip code.
Originally from South Florida, Zarina Ellis (second from right) has lived in the area for three years and is new to the real estate community. Ellis began her career in the military and has since transitioned out to earn her Bachelor’s Degree in Information Systems and Business Analytics. The Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican realtor will be concentrating on a multitude of areas, including 30A to Pensacola and north to Crestview.
Century 21 Blue Marlin Pelican is also pleased to announce that realtor Stefanie Greenwood (right), has been awarded the nationally recognized Military Relocation Professional (MRP) Certification. The National Association of Realtors® awards the MRP certification to realtors who help military personnel, veterans, and their families find housing that lets them make the best use of their benefits and serves the unique needs of military life.
WSRE Wants Your "American Creed" Story
On nearly every news program and around water coolers and kitchen tables, people are talking about how Americans are divided as a nation. So it is timely that a new documentary film asks the question, “In a fractured nation, what ideals do we share in common?” The film is called “American Creed,” and it premieres Feb. 27 on PBS stations nationwide. In conjunction with the film, WSRE public television is hosting local events and sponsoring a storytelling campaign for the public to share personal stories about what it means to be an American. For details, visit wsre.org/AmericanCreed.
Preston Hayes Helps Fund CIC Truck IMO Wife
Seen here, Ken Hair, Children In Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, receives a $10,000 check from long-time donor and supporter Preston Hayes in memory of his wife Nell. The funds will be used to purchase a reliable truck to help with donation pick up of food and clothing for Kay’s Cupboard. The CIC Neighborhood is home to more than 100 children each year, and the truck will continue to give to CIC far into the future.
Children In Crisis Cuts Ribbon on Kay’s Cupboard Food Pantry
Children In Crisis (CIC) recently cut the ribbon on Kay’s Cupboard food pantry and donation center with more than 200 supporters and six area chambers of commerce in attendance. To celebrate the opening, friends of CIC brought canned food items and paper products to help fill the pantry shelves. Kay’s Cupboard food pantry and donation center will help CIC better utilize food drives and other donations for the more than 100 children that call the CIC Neighborhood home each year. Funding for Kay’s Cupboard was made possible by M/Gen (Ret.) Don Litke and family in honor and memory of Don’s wife Kay.
Ramada Plaza Fort Walton Beach Resort/Destin Names New General Manager
Mainsail Lodging & Development announced the appointment of Jim Swaim as general manager of the 335-room Ramada Plaza Beach Resort. Swaim will oversee the hiring of new staff and day-to-day operations of the Ramada Plaza, located directly on the Emerald Coast in the Panhandle of Florida. With 20 years of hospitality industry experience, Swaim comes to the Ramada from the Marriott St. Petersburg Clearwater, where he worked for seven years, acting as director of hotel operations for the past two years. While at Marriott, Swaim held a variety of positions, including executive housekeeper, front office manager, banquet sous chef, and restaurant chef. Prior to Marriott, Swaim spent two years with the Hideaway Restaurant & Banquets, where he worked as general manager and lead chef. A graduate of Columbia College in Missouri, Swaim has earned a number of recognitions during his career, including The Spirit to Serve Award and Marriott Housekeeping Excellence.
Sinfonia Gulf Coast Announces Call for Student Musicians to Join Youth Orchestra Programs
The Sinfonia Gulf Coast’s Youth Orchestra program is the premier training orchestra in Northwest Florida and consists of more than 50 students who participate in a variety of ensembles that perform throughout the school year in one of two ensembles: The Sinfonietta Strings or the Sinfonia Youth Orchestra. Though the semester has started it is not too late to join. Sinfonietta String’s membership is open to developing string players, with at least two years of lessons, or recommendations from their music teachers. The Sinfonia Youth Orchestra Programs — under the leadership of Music Director Liz Aylor — has a full orchestra of more than 40 talented young musicians ranging in age from 6th to 12th Grade. For more details on the groups, please visit www.SinfoniaGulfCoast.org/education or contact the Sinfonia Gulf Coast office at (850) 460-8800.
Nine Rehabilitated Sea Turtles Given a Second Chance
The Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center released nine rehabilitated sea turtles on Jan. 25. A huge crowd of several hundred people were in attendance at Henderson Beach State Park to witness the event. Seven of the nine sea turtles released were considered cold stunned, and the other two sea turtles ingested fishing hooks and line. Among the group was Seadar, a sub-adult Loggerhead, who arrived at the C.A.R.E. Center in November 2017. X-rays showed nine hooks, a lead weight, and fishing line in her system. For more details, visit Facebook.com/gulfariumcarecenter.
Xenex LightStrike Germ-Zapping Robot Unveiled
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital announced they are the first and only two hospitals in the Tri-County Area to use the Xenex LightStrike® Germ-Zapping Robot™ to enhance environmental cleanliness by disinfecting and destroying hard-to-kill germs, bacteria and superbugs in hard-to-clean places. These medical facilities are the first to tap into a technology that uses pulsed xenon ultraviolet (UV) light to quickly destroy bacteria, viruses, mold, and other pathogens that can cause healthcare associated infections (HAI).
“While both medical facilities are the only two hospitals in the area to receive an “A” rating for patient safety from the Leap Frog Group, we still wanted to make this capital investment to keep our hospitals equipped with the latest technology,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.
Henderson Park Inn Receives Conde Nast Johansens Award for Excellence 2018
“We wanted to find a way to give back to our local charities and also get our patients involved. We thought this was a fun way to show the kids the importance of helping people in need, right here in your backyard,” said Dr. Casi Stubbs.