Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Chairman's Message: Farewell Message

It is time for my term as Chairman of the board to come to an end, but I would be remiss if I didn’t let everyone know how much I have enjoyed my year. There are too many individuals to thank, so please accept this as my heartfelt appreciation for everyone’s support and effort over the past 12 months. The one group of individuals that I must list is the staff at the Chamber: Shane, Elizabeth, and Dena. The staff has done a great job with all the phone calls, emails, walk-in visitors, member requests, events, and lunches. Just to finish out the year with a bang, two staff members moved onto other opportunities. Thank you very much for taking care of the day-to-day business, while membership steadily increased.

I would encourage all members to take advantage of the opportunities that the Chamber provides, because you never know who you may meet at the various events. Not everyone can make all the events, but hopefully there is an event/function that works within your schedule. Here is the list of events/functions that are offered: Leaders in Business Lunch, Annual Awards & Installation Banquet, Bayou Bay & Beach Run/Walk, Business After Hours, Paddle at the Porch, Multi-Chamber Business Expo, Tax Relief Golf Tournament, Bourbon at the Bay, Grand Openings, Ribbon Cuttings, and the Annual Holiday Party.

As everyone takes this time to sit back, relax, reflect, and spend time with family and friends, I ask that you commit to participate in the local, state, and federal government affairs. If We the People do not get involved with the various aspects of the government, then We the People may be impacted in ways that could change the way you operate your business and/or live your life. Please get involved. In 2016 there will be significant changes in the local government, so I also encourage everyone to get out and learn about the different candidates, so you can make an informed decision during the elections. Let’s not let the views and opinions of a few set the path of our future.

Finally, I hope to see everyone at the Annual Awards and Installation Banquet on Friday, Jan. 15, 2016, at the Emerald Grande. In addition to the annual aspects of this event, the Marketing Committee will be sharing some exciting and new marketing and advertising visuals. We think everyone will be very impressed and leave the event with great anticipation for all the opportunities that lie ahead in 2016.

If there is ever anything we may do for you, please do not hesitate to call the Chamber at (850) 837-6241. I look forward to serving you throughout 2016 and together building this world-class community one business at a timeThank you for your support and participation over the past year. I greatly appreciate everyone’s effort.

Ken Wampler
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.
2015 Destin Area Chamber Chairman of the Board

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

December 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 4

Knights of Columbus Donate to Sacred Heart Hospital Chapel Improvements
Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast - Knights of ColumbusThe Knights of Columbus Council recently presented a $4,000 check to Roger Hall, president ofSacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, and Jeff Ryan, chaplain, for improvements to the hospital’s chapel. Sacred Heart chapel is open to patients, families, visitors, and the healthcare team as a place of reverence and prayerful solitude. 

VW Car Club Helps Children in Need
Children In CrisisThe local chapter of the Kusten Kruezers VW Car Club helped the 52 kids living at the Children in Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood with a donation of $4,000. CIC was chosen as the benefiting charity for the huge car show held at the Mullet Festival grounds. CIC was nominated by a member of the club and voted by the membership to receive the funds. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives the donation from Steve Osborn, car club president.

Museum Seeks Volunteers
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is seeking shift volunteers who can work set hours each week helping to greet guests, answer phones, and assist in the gift shop. Current openings are 10 a.m. – 1 p.m., on Fridays and Saturdays, and 1 – 4 p.m., on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you cannot commit to a weekly obligation, but want to volunteer, other opportunities are available. Call the museum at (850) 678-2615. 

Playground Corvette Club Donates to Covenant Hospice
Covenant HospiceCovenant Care is the recent recipient of a $200 donation from the Playground Corvette Club in Fort Walton Beach. Donations from groups, such as the Playground Corvette Club, help fund Covenant Hospice’s special programs in Okaloosa and Walton counties. These programs include bereavement services, children’s support programs, spiritual support services, and charity care. Covenant Hospice accepts patients regardless of ability to pay. In 2014, the organization provided more than $1.7 million in care for uninsured or under-insured patients facing a terminal illness. 

Waterfield & Associates Hold Online Auction for Children in Crisis
Children In Crisis - Waterfield & AssociatesWaterfield & Associates, Inc. – Destin Insurance Group hosted an online auction for Children in Crisis (CIC). It raised $800. Beth and Gary Kelly, the winning bidders, will enjoy a stay at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, along with various gift cards to local restaurants, a dinner cruise aboard the Solaris, golf in Sandestin and Kelly Plantation, and a Spa Package from the Spa Sandestin. Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, is seen here with Benny Waterfield, Kim Kurth, and other associates.

Warren Averett Expands Southeast Presence
Warren Averett, LLC, continues to expand its Southeast presence with the upcoming merger of Panama City-based firm Jinks & Moody, PA. This addition brings the Warren Averett firm to more than 800 team members, serving clients through 14 offices across Alabama, Florida, and Georgia. The merger, effective Jan. 1, 2016, offers clients expanded reach and resources, service solutions, and a strengthened depth of expertise, with the same level of personal client service. 

Blue Marlin Realty Group Donates Toys to Local ER
Blue Marlin Realty Group - Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald CoastBlue Marlin Realty Group partnered with Porsche of Destin, Gregg ORR Auto, and members of the local community to collect and donate toys to children who visited the Emergency Room at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast this holiday season. The donation was made on Dec. 21. Seen here, Sacred Heart Hospital employees Tracy Perk, Jessica Markowski, Tina Withrow, and Jeff Ryan accept more than 200 toys from Blue Marlin Realty Group team members Holden Hughes, Johnathan Hughes, Rick Moore, Jerry Sullivan, Leslie Sullivan, and Roger Conner.

Building Homes for Heroes Repeats Festival of Trees Win
Building Homes for Heroes - Grand Boulevard at SandestinBuilding Homes for Heroes took home Best of Show for the second year in a row at the sixth annual Festival of Trees in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin and was awarded the top prize of $2,500 by the panel of judges. Its display included a military-themed Christmas tree, small wooden houses, and a flag presentation that reflects its mission to build homes for returning disabled veterans. For the first time ever, there was a tie for second place with Heart Animal Rescue andEmerald Coast Theatre Company each winning $1,250. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast won the People’s Choice Award and received $2,000. Seen here, David Switzer, 5-year-old Cameron Hale, and Kelly Hale of Building Homes for Heroes accept the Best of Show prize from Stacey Brady, Chelsea Calhoun, and Bill Bubel of Grand Boulevard.

Tee Off for Toys keeps Giving to Children
Children In CrisisThe Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort helped the kids living at the Children in Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood through its 4th Christmas Tee Off for Toys event. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, accepts the donation of more than 500 toys worth more than $7,500 from Rick Hileman, Sandestin’s director of golf, and staff.

Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Brings Children a Merrier Christmas
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center - Emerald Coast Harley DavidsonThe Emerald Coast Harley Owner’s Group (HOG) Chapter #3605, sponsored by Emerald Coast Harley Davidson, hosted its 36th Annual Toys 4 Tots Run this Holiday season with the proceeds benefiting the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center and Children in Crisis. With 500 motorcycles and their riders, the successful operation collected more than 600 toys and raised more than $13,000 to benefit the two organizations.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

December 2015 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

Grace Foundation of Destin Supports Children in Crisis
Children in Crisis is blessed to have amazing house parents that care for the children living at the Children’s Neighborhood. These individuals live on campus with the more than 50 children currently in our care. They give up their homes and their main job is to care for and love these foster children, and they do an amazing job. The relationships that are bonded last long after the children are reunited with their families or adopted. Therefore, we are always looking for outlets to strengthen those bonds. One of the ways we will accomplish this is putting our house “Dads” through a program called “Raising a Modern Day Knight.” These workbooks inspire and encourage men to connect with their sons. This will help our House Dads be stronger role models for the troubled young men that would have no male figures in their lives without them, even if reunified with their parents: a father still may not be in the picture. The program is made possible in part by a grant from The Grace Foundation of Destin, and we are thankful for its continued and constant support of our mission to provide a home to the abused, abandoned, and neglected children of Okaloosa, Walton, Escambia, and Santa Rosa counties. 

Terry Pilcher Named 2015 ECAR Realtor® of the Year
Emerald Coast Association of RealtorsThe Emerald Coast Association of REALTORS® (ECAR) honored its leading members at its 2015 awards event, held Dec. 3, at the Bayview Club on Eglin Air Force Base.  Big winner of the night was Terry Pilcher, a member of ECAR since 2001 and multiple-time North Walton Chapter Realtor® of the Year, Pilcher was named 2015 ECAR Realtor® of the Year. Pilcher of Merrifield and Pilcher Realty is the incoming President-elect for 2016 and will be President of the Association in 2017.

Additional ECAR award winners include:
•    2015 Crestview Realtor of the Year: Lori Wenrich
•    2015 Commercial Realtor of the Year: Chad Knaepple
•    2015 Destin Realtor of the Year: Abner Williams
•    2015 Fort Walton Beach Realtor of the Year: Ben Acock
•    2015 Niceville Realtor of the Year: Cathy Alley
•    2015 South Walton Realtor of the Year: Michele Bailey
•    2015 Unsung Hero: Kerry Kelly 

Beachside Community Church helps Children at Christmas
Children In CrisisTed Randall, Jake Miller, and Shawn Ellis of Beachside Community Church of Fort Walton Beach presented a $5,000 donation to the kids living at Children in Crisis (CIC). They are seen here with Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO. Thanks to the generous donations from the members, the kids living at the CIC Neighborhood will have a wonderful Christmas. The donation will also help provide a home and care for the more than 100 children that will call CIC home this year.

Medical Center Gives Early Christmas Present to Children's Center
The Arc of the Emerald Coast Children's Center received an early Christmas present from Fort Walton Beach Medical Centeremployees and Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Auxiliary. During the United Way Day of Caring, employees from the Fort Walton Beach Medical Center volunteered and worked at The Children's Center located on Holmes Ave in Fort Walton Beach.  During that time they learned of the need for a new commercial grade dishwasher for the facility, and they took action.  From sales in the gift shop, run by the Fort Walton Beach Auxiliary, to last minute donuts sale by the administrative office, they didn't give up until every penny was raised.  Thanks to this generous group’s time and more, they raised more than $3,000.  

Sacred Heart Hospital Christmas Angel Drive Benefits 69 Local Children
Sacred Heart on the Emerald CoastDuring this special holiday season of caring and sharing, Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast’s associates and physicians fulfilled 69 Christmas angel requests. The annual Christmas Angel Drive benefitted the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center of DeFuniak Springs, in addition to supporting several Sacred Heart associates and families who requested assistance. Seen here, Sacred Heart Hospital and Children’s Advocacy Center associates are pictured with Christmas Angel gifts donated by hospital associates and physicians. 

Dr. Poelstra Demonstrates New Spine Surgery Techniques at Las Vegas Forum
Sacred Heart on the Emerald CoastDr. Kornelis Poelstra, orthopedic and neurological spine surgeon and medical director of the Spine Center atSacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast, recently chaired the Global Forum for the Society for Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (SMISS) in Las Vegas, NV. He led various debates and surgical simulations to demonstrate a variety of novel procedures he performs using robotic spine surgery technology, only available in our area at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. On Nov. 30, Dr. Poelstra completed his 100th robotic-assisted spine surgery with the Mazor system.