Changing lives

Seventh-grader Luke Haro helps people around the world

Luke Haro was attending a private online school when he was assigned a project that inspired him to change the lives of people around the world. 

Last school year, the Bluffton boy attended Valor Global Online, a Christian school that focuses on philanthropy and entrepreneurship. In his global impact class, Luke was required to lend $25 to an individual through a nonprofit organization called Kiva and to create a video asking others to do the same. 

Luke decided to go way above and beyond what his teacher required of him. He spent his entire spring break building a website and setting up a GoFundMe page to raise more money so he could give out loans to more people.

Encouraging acceptance

High school senior Sidney Wilson pens book to inspire other kids

On the cusp of graduating from high school, Sidney Wilson is at an age typically marked by a desire to fit in — to conform. But that’s not Sidney. She’s embraced what makes her different and has written a children’s book encouraging others to do the same.

“My book is supposed to teach children that it is good to be different from one another and to accept children that are different from them,” Sidney said.

Tennis teacher

Endless energy of Alfredo Soliz helps top junior players maximize potential

Alfredo Soliz followed his tennis dreams everywhere they took him, from his native Bolivia throughout South America and across the pond to Europe. 

And when his dream reached its ceiling, he came to Hilton Head Island and started a new one.

For more than 30 years, Soliz has used the skills and lessons his own tennis journey instilled combined with his relentlessly positive attitude and energy to help top junior players reach even greater heights on the court than he did representing the Bolivian national team as a teenager — and it all started here on Hilton Head.

Hairstylist to the stars

Dennis Stokely continues to dazzle in the Lowcountry

It is a perilous understatement to say that these past few years have been, well, interesting. Apart from everything else, though, one of the most intriguing developments of these early 2020s has been the rebirth of the mullet. If you’re one of the fashion-forward folks who have brought back the Kentucky waterfall, we have good news for you. 

Dennis Stokely, hairstylist to the stars, thinks you look amazing. 

“I am team mullet,” he said with a laugh. “I’m thrilled that we are living in a time that is embracing all of these unique and fun looks… I think humanity in general seems to be a little more embracing of things outside the norm, and I think it’s freeing people to be themselves.”

Being in the moment

Andrea Brown rides to find her inner adventurer

Registered dental hygienist Andrea Brown rides to work on Hilton Head Island every day on a Honda Shadow Aero 750 named Bella. 

Rain or shine, she navigates traffic from Savannah in her signature pink helmet to assist with the patients of Dr. Kowalyk, seeing to their comfort. 

As the daughter of a career officer, Brown had always wanted lifetime military service. With dreams of becoming a helicopter pilot, she entered the Army and trained as a combat photographer. At the time, digital photography didn’t exist, so she learned to work in the dark room developing prints. Brown’s service included the Gulf War, giving her status as a veteran. 

Unbreakable Bond

HHI Fire Captain Lee Jenkins savors his love of horses

When Lee Jenkins was a teenager, he was aboard his beloved Palamino stallion, riding at top speed, when the saddle snapped. Jenkins went hurtling face first into the dirt road. When he looked up, he expected to see Smokey bolting away. 

But he didn’t. Stallions have a reputation for stubbornness and a bit of a wild streak, but Smokey turned around and returned, lowering his head so Jenkins could pull himself up. 

A familiar voice

Bob Lacey keeps entertaining radio listeners nationwide

Like many Hilton Head Islanders, Bob Lacey can be found many mornings enjoying life from his sunroom.

Ah, but there’s a difference. From a transformed space at the rear of his Sea Pines house, Lacey is at work in his broadcast studio, busily sending his popular radio show to some 70 U.S. markets and more than 170 nations.

The Hilton Head Island-Bluffton Chamber of Commerce welcomed four new staffers to its organization. Michelle Pivik is the new Director of Member Recruitment and Engagement. An island resident for 12 years, she was previously a small business owner and worked in broadcast sales and property management. Seth Richardson joins the chamber’s Visitor & Convention Bureau division as the Director of Sales and Partnership Management. He was previously the assistant director of sales at the J.W. Marriott in Savannah and has worked at the Omni Orlando Resort at Champions Gate, Rosen Hotels & Resorts, and the Royal Sonesta in New Orleans. 


Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, First Presbyterian Church Hilton Head Island has never lost sight of its mission, "Changing Lives … Making Disciples." 

“Especially in this pandemic, changing lives has mattered so much,” the Rev. Dr. Will Robinson said. “So, I think of our local outreach ministries and our global outreach ministries, and just how much more those have been needed because of the pandemic.”


American Country/Bluegrass singer-songwriter Marty Falle isn’t your typical country artist, though he does love his pickup truck.

There’s no manager, no touring. He’s strictly a Nashville recording artist who has owned a home on Hilton Head Island since 2003, a beautiful place to create his original music. Nevertheless, he boasts an international audience, all while maintaining a fulltime job with a Fortune 50 company.