Category: Community

Peacock Automotive Hosts Santa’s Workshop for Local Kids

Peacock Automotive Hosts Santa’s Workshop for Local Kids

Peacock Automotive will host a free family event on Dec. 9 at Peacock Auto Mall

(JASPER COUNTY, SC) Peacock Automotive plans to host “Santa’s Workshop” from 2-5 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 9, for local families. The event will be free of charge and will take place at the Peacock Auto Mall, located at 84 Auto Mall Blvd. near Bluffton.

Guests will enjoy photos with Santa Claus, gingerbread cookie decorating, a hot chocolate bar and free hot dogs. Live musician, David Ross, will be performing Christmas carols that guests are encouraged to sing along.

There will also be a toy collection drive benefiting the Boys and Girls Club of the Lowcountry. Wish-list items for the toy drive include children’s books, coloring books, toy trucks, building blocks, multicultural dolls, musical toys, play dough sets, large piece puzzles, pull toys, sports equipment, board games and art supplies, including glue sticks, markers, scissors and stickers. All toys must be new and unopened and can be dropped off at any dealership in the Peacock Auto Mall from now leading up to the event.

“During the holiday season, we always strive to find ways to give back even more to our community,” said Warner Peacock, President and CEO of Peacock Automotive. “Peacock Automotive is centered around our family-first values, and this event is focused on bringing Christmas cheer to the boys and girls of the Lowcountry.”

According to the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, 84 percent of members who attend Clubs regularly believe they can make a difference in the community. The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Lowcountry operates six clubs in Beaufort and Jasper Counties with over 2,200 members ages six to 18 years.

For more information, please visit or Peacock Auto Mall’s Facebook page at

Peacock Automotive Presents Santa's Workshop

Peacock Automotive Presents Santa’s Workshop

Peacock Automotive owns and operates 20 automotive franchises in Georgia, South Carolina and Florida and employs more than 600 individuals. The company’s headquarters are located at the Peacock Auto Mall that covers 45 acres on U.S. 278, five miles east of Interstate 95 at Exit 8 near Bluffton, S.C. Thirteen brands are featured at the Auto Mall, including AudiChryslerDodgeFiatGenesisHyundaiJaguarJeepLand RoverPorscheRamSubaru and Volkswagen. Additionally, the company owns Peacock Hyundai Savannah, Savannah Volkswagen and Alfa Romeo & Fiat of Savannah and Jaguar Land Rover Columbia in Columbia, S.C., and its subsidiary Peacock-Griffey Automotive owns Peacock Subaru and Peacock Ford in Orlando, Fla. Peacock Automotive also owns and operates the Peacock Collision Center and The Wellness Institute in South Carolina. For more information about Peacock Automotive, call (843) 208-1258 or visit

Jill Jauch
Advertising and Marketing Manager


Q&A: Please Meet Mike Hughes

Q&A: Please Meet Mike Hughes

Please Meet H. Michael Hughes Ph.D.
Bethesda Academy

Q: When did you join Bethesda?
A: I started my service as President of Bethesda Academy in the summer of 2016.

Q: What is your experience in education and how long have you been an educator?
A: Prior to accepting the position at Bethesda, I served as headmaster for 5 years at Antilles School in St. Thomas, which is considered to be one of the finest independent schools in the U.S. Virgin Islands. I also led Riverside Military Academy in Gainesville as its superintendent (president) during a six-year comprehensive rebranding period from 1999 to 2005. I taught college for eight years at West Point, and also served as Director of the Center there. I have been a teacher for 31 years and earned graduate degrees at the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Q: What motivated you to get into education?
A: I was inspired by Thomas Jefferson’s vision for his final years to establish an institution of learning for those who follow us. I thought that becoming a school leader to inspire and develop young people would be a very meaningful, intrinsically satisfying way to end my working career. And it has.

Q: What did you do before becoming an educator?
A: After graduation from West Point, I proudly served our nation as an Infantry officer in the United States Army during a 22-year career. My service included assignments in California and at Ft. Benning, GA; as well as with the U.S. European Command in Germany and in the Middle East. I also served as an infantry rifle company commander along the DMZ in Korea and culminated my military career as a tenured associate professor at West Point.

Q: What is your most meaningful contribution as a teacher/mentor?
A: As a teacher of leadership and counseling for eight years at West Point, I taught hundreds of cadets and had a life-changing impact on an entire generation of young men and women who would become superb Army officers. I take pride in celebrating the successes of my former students, whether they become community leaders or represent our Country in leading the global war on terror.

Q: What sets your leadership style apart?
A: My leadership style is very intense, focused, hands-on and engaged. During my numerous experiences as a leadership instructor at West Point, MIT, and the Army, I learned the key lesson that leadership skills can be learned if taught in several modes including theory and practical skills combined with an opportunity to learn from other successful leaders from many areas of life.

Q: What are your most memorable awards?
A: Truly, my “most memorable” award was the privilege of working with America’s finest young men and women at West Point, the United States Army, and in fine schools like Bethesda Academy. When I retired from active duty in 1999 as a Lieutenant Colonel, I was humbled to receive the Legion of Merit for my contributions to the United States Army and West Point. Also, during my doctoral studies and formal training at the University of Virginia, I was selected as a lifetime member of the prestigious Raven Society for my contributions to the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community in leadership and community service.

Q: What is your vision for Bethesda Academy?
A: I believe Bethesda will become a transformative leadership academy that provides a superb academic and preparatory experience, both college and vocational, to help each boy reach his potential. To achieve this, we have renewed and strengthened our mission to teach meaningful leadership skills to each Bethesda boy and created a new curriculum to support it.

Q: What are three things you want the community to know about Bethesda Academy?
1) Founded in 1740, Bethesda Academy is the oldest child-care institution in the United States. That being said, we are no longer an orphanage. Now we are a private boarding and day school for young men in grades six through twelve and are accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.
2) Bethesda Academy is an all-male school, and as such, we are fiercely proud that 95 percent of our students graduate on time, and 85 percent of our students go on to college.
3) Bethesda Academy is formalizing an organizational structure to build an effective leadership team and beginning the transformation to a leadership academy.

Q: What are the benefits of an all male school?
A: Founded on a belief in God, Bethesda nurtures boys through competency-based, flexible instructional programs and work preparation so they will grow into responsible citizens. Bethesda offers an education in a smaller, supervised, supportive environment. The 650-acre campus features a variety of athletic teams, a wildlife management and organic farming program and STEM curriculum.

Q: Does Bethesda offer any special programs?
A: Students in grades 9–12 spend one class period of their schedule each day in one of our Campus internships. While the experiences are all unique, students are taught and expected to demonstrate solid work ethic skills. Student interns are currently managed by peer mentors in the following areas: athletics, athletic training, wildlife sanctuary and preserve, dining services, office assistants, development marketing and hospitality, introduction to digital media, teacher’s aide, cattle and beef program, farm and gardens and maintenance.

Q: How can the community get involved?
A: The community can help by providing funding support and opportunities for internships, as well as externship experiences.

Q: How many employees do you have?
A: We have 40 staff members.

Q: Who is your favorite author and what is your favorite book?
A: I first read “Once an Eagle” by Anton Myrer in 1976 when I was an infantry commander stationed in Korea. It is both a military book and a leadership book and a great study in character, contrasting the lives of two officers. One takes care of his soldiers and serves his country. The other man serves himself only, always seeking a higher rank. A valuable lesson I learned from reading the book is always to get on the ground and see what’s really happening with the people you lead.

Q: Tell us about your family and what you enjoy doing when you aren’t working.
A: My wife Donna and I love it here in Savannah. During my military career, I spent time at Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield and developed an appreciation and love for the Savannah area, so it felt like coming home when we came to Bethesda and Savannah. Donna and I have three grown children, two daughters and a son, two of whom are teachers, and one who is an attorney. I like working out by weight lifting and exercising on a tread-climber. I also enjoy spending time with my wife, along with outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing and exploring.

Bethesda Academy President H. Michael Hughes, Ph.D.

Bethesda Academy President H. Michael Hughes, Ph.D.

Contact information:
Location: 9520 Ferguson Road, Savannah, GA 31406.
Call: 912.644.4376

Junkluggers of the Coastal Empire Announces Holiday Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank

Junkluggers of the Coastal Empire Announces Holiday Food Drive for Second Harvest Food Bank

(SAVANNAH, GA) The Junkluggers of the Coastal Empire, Savannah’s eco-friendly and caring alternative to traditional junk removal, is holding a food drive to benefit America’s Second Harvest of Coastal Georgia food bank.

“We chose this as The Junkluggers’ first official charity event because we are drawn to the synergy between organizations with the same purpose – helping those in the community,” said Trevor Hess, owner and president of the local franchise. “Our family has participated with and volunteers for Second Harvest, and it’s a charity we believe in and want to support.”

During November, Hess and his wife, Misty, who is also his business partner, will be asking customers to participate by donating non-perishable foods at the time of service. They hope to raise $2,400 and collect 15,000 food items.

The Junkluggers will then deliver the donations to the Second Harvest food bank on Friday, Dec. 8. The warehouse and distribution center serves more than 300 non-profit and faith-based agencies throughout 21 counties in Coastal Georgia.

“The food bank distributes more than 12 million pounds of food throughout Coastal Georgia to help relieve hunger each year,” Hess said. “Not only does this help families in need, but it also rescues truckloads of food that retail businesses might otherwise discard into the waste stream.”

It is estimated that food procured by Second Harvest represents a savings of greater than $19 million dollars in food costs for its partner agencies, which allows them to provide other services to those in need.

“Our mission is similarly aligned to the food bank’s in that we believe in donating first, recycling next and avoiding landfills as much as possible,” Hess said. “As an eco-friendly, caring alternative to traditional junk removal, our goal is to protect the community we live in by sorting everything we put on the truck for donations, recycling and disposal, with the landfill always being the last stop for any items removed.”

Junkluggers is committed to presenting monthly donations to local charities and is developing partnerships with several local causes and non-profits. For more information, please call 912-712-0227 or visit

The Junkluggers of the Coastal Empire, owned by Trevor and Misty Hess, serves as an environmentally friendly junk removal company for Chatham, Effingham, Bryan and Liberty counties in coastal Georgia, plus Jasper and Beaufort counties in South Carolina. The company offers same day and next day appointments. Specializing in both residential and commercial clean-outs, Junkluggers accepts everything from furniture to construction debris, including office equipment, heavy machinery and appliances. All luggers are background-checked and professionally trained, and the company is insured with 100 percent property damage protection. The company is committed to partnering with local charities in service to the community as well as providing public education on issues such as recycling, donating and repurposing. For more information, please call 912-712-0227 or visit

Trevor Hess
The Junkluggers of the Coastal Empire

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations®
Cecilia Russo Marketing

Speakers Sought for 2018 Encourage Health Series

Speakers Sought for 2018 Encourage Health Series

(SAVANNAH, GA) Healthy Savannah and enmarket are accepting speaking nominations for the 2018 Encourage Health Educational Series. This marks the fifth year for the health-focused series, which features speakers on nutrition, fitness and tips for living a healthy life. As the event is centered around offering health education to the Savannah community, all speakers are volunteers and do not receive financial compensation for their speech.

Program topics have covered a wide range of subject matter discussed by respected experts in the health field. Popular themes have included training tips for running a 5K, the golden healers of ginger and turmeric, the correlation between heart health and a healthy lifestyle, acupuncture practices and many more.

Anyone who has an idea for a health-oriented educational program should submit the concept to Paula Kreissler at The deadline is Thursday, Nov. 30.

Applications should include the presenter’s name, title, company and contact information, along with the proposed topic and a short description of what the audience would learn. Please attach a bio and headshot. All submissions will be reviewed by the Encourage Health advisory board.

The selected speakers will be announced in February. The 2018 lunch and learn series will kick off on Tuesday, April 17. The other lectures will be held on the following Tuesdays: June 26, August 28 and October 30.

Encourage Health Education Series

Founded as Interstate Stations in 1963 by Robert Demere, Enmark Stations, Inc., operating as enmarket, is a family-run business committed to offering its customers top-notch service and superior products. Today, the Savannah-based company, which celebrated its 50-year anniversary in 2013, operates 60 stores in Georgia, South Carolina and North Carolina. Enmarket’s mission is to Enrich Life! Stores offer freshly prepared food and healthy snacks, high-quality double filtered gasoline, beverages, lottery services and more. Enmarket customers can save up to $.10 per gallon by using the company’s Cash Card, a reloadable stored-value card that can be used directly at the pump. Coupons, promotions, and a location finder are available on the free mobile app. For more information on enmarket, please call 912-236-1331 or visit Follow enmarket on Twitter at @enmarkenjoy.

Matt Clements
Director of Marketing

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade PR
Cecilia Russo Marketing

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

Matthew Reardon Center for Autism to Host Open House in Savannah on Nov 15

WHO: Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc. (MRCA)

WHAT: Open House and Tour of Expanded School

WHEN: Wednesday, November 15, 2017, 5:30 PM – 7 PM

WHERE: 6602 Abercorn Street, Suite #200

CONTACT: Patti Victor Phone: (912) 355-9098

MRCA has recently expanded their existing 5,000 square foot facility by 1,000 square feet, allowing the organization to increase enrollment to 22 students. The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism, ages 5 to 18-years-old, ADVANCE Academy (AA).

MRCA offers a multi-therapeutic, communication-based approach to academics, and social and life skills education using Applied Behavior Analysis methodology. Additionally, all students receive Speech, Occupational, Physical and Music therapy as part of their curriculum.

Accredited by the Georgia Accreditation Commission, ADVANCE Academy’s teachers communicate with parents daily. Student progress can be monitored by parents through their online system. Parent training workshops are held four times a year in addition to quarterly parent conference and annual IEP conferences. MRCA advocates work with families, both at AA and throughout the community, to ensure they obtain needed support services needed, such as IEP planning and development, SSI, Medicaid and extra-curricular activities.

Student to teacher ratio is 2:1 in elementary and 3:1 in the middle and upper school classrooms. Teachers and staff members have special certifications, including Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA), Registered Behavior Technician (RBT) and GA Professional Standards Commission Certification. All staff members are Safety-Care Certified and CPR Certified. A master’s degree is required for all lead teachers, and a bachelor’s degree required for all teaching assistants.

Teachers will be available for questions at the open house. Refreshments will be available for guests.

Annual tuition is $9,350 for the 12-month school term. Students at MRCA participate in the Georgia Special Needs Scholarship Program, with limited additional tuition assistance available through the GA Tax Credit Scholarship Program.

“Decades of research data clearly demonstrate that the earlier intervention support begins, the better the outcome for the child and for the entire family,” said Patti Victor, President and CEO of MRCA.

The CDC estimates that 1 in 66 children in Georgia will be diagnosed with autism. This equates to more than 38,000 school-aged children in Georgia, more than 2,000 of whom live in the Coastal Empire community. One percent of the population of the USA has autism.

MRCA operates southeast Georgia’s only accredited year-round day school for children with autism. They have provided advocacy and outreach services to more than 800 families across southeast Georgia and have hosted professional training and instructional opportunities for more than 4,000 family members, educators, health professionals and self-advocates. The organization was incorporated in 2000 and currently serves 22 students through ADVANCE Academy. They have 11 full-time employees and operate in a 6000 sq foot suite located at 6602 Abercorn St #200, Savannah, GA 31405. Website:

The center is located off the Northeast corner where Abercorn St. intersects with Jackson Blvd. (just north of Chucky Cheese), 2nd floor.

Matthew Rearden Center for Autism Open House

Patti T. Victor, President and CEO
The Matthew Reardon Center for Autism, Inc, and Advance Academy
912-355-9098 (office)
912-352-2460 (fax)

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations

Park Place Outreach Presents “Wear Green Day” to Recognize National Runaway Prevention Month

“Wear Green Day” Set for November 10 to Recognize National Runaway Prevention Month in Savannah

(SAVANNAH, GA) Greenbriar Children’s Center and HUGS (Heads-Up Guidance Services) have partnered with Park Place Outreach – Youth Emergency Shelter in inviting the public to participate in “Wear Green Day” on Friday, Nov. 10, in conjunction with the 2017 National Runaway Prevention Month. The three organizations have similar missions in providing services to Savannah area families and at-risk youth and are also seeking participation by other potential partners.

The theme of this year’s event is “Friends Helping Friends.” Savannah-Chatham County Public School students and teachers are being encouraged wear green on Nov. 10 to share the message that support and friendship can come in the form of teachers, mentors, peers and family members. There may be as many as 900 students in the local school system who are homeless.

“We’re seeking participation throughout the community in adopting this important campaign and sharing its powerful message,” said Julie Wade, executive director of Park Place Outreach. Wade is also a board member of the Savannah-Chatham County Public School System. ”Our goal is to unite communities to help support at-risk youth as they navigate their world and let them know they do have options to get off the street, starting with the National Runaway Safeline, a 24/7 resource for youth in crisis.”

The three lead organizations all have similarly-focused missions of helping strengthen families and providing vital services to children and youth who may be homeless or in crisis situations.

“Statistics show people don’t often seek the counseling they need because they cannot afford the high cost,” said Ellen Bradley, executive board member for HUGS. “We want them to know there are resources available to them, regardless of their ability to pay.”

This faith-based non-profit is dedicated to making professional mental & behavioral health counseling and addiction recovery services affordable to all motivated individuals. This year they’ve added several new collaborative partners that focus on serving at-risk youth in our community.

The mission of Greenbriar Children’s Center is to promote the healthy development of children and the strengthening of families. They provide services that include an emergency shelter, runaway/homeless, residential care, independent living, family preservation, early childhood education & care, and Project Safe Place.

“The numbers are staggering,” said Wade. “Up to 2.8 million children and teenagers run away from home each year, often ending up on the streets. They’re not bad kids, just good kids in bad situations, and they need a friend to support, listen and care.”

Park Place Outreach – Youth Emergency Shelter provides support for troubled children and teens in Savannah and the surrounding area. The organization has helped more than 6,200 area young people find emergency shelter and thousands more find stability through its non-residential programs.

“If you are thinking about running away or are homeless, or you know someone who has run away or is homeless, you are not alone,” continued Wade. “Many local agencies in Savannah support runaway and homeless youth, to help get them off the streets and reunited with family and loved ones. Please speak up and speak out to help us support runaway and homeless youth.”

Spearheaded each year by the National Runaway Safeline, the goal of National Runaway Prevention Month is to raise awareness of the runaway and homeless youth crisis and the issues these young people face. The campaign also provides education to the public and the role they can play in ending youth homelessness.


Park Place Outreach Wear Green Day

Park Place Outreach
Youth Emergency Shelter
514 E. Henry Street
Savannah, GA. 31401
912-234-4048 Fax 912-651-3621

HUGS (Heads-Up Guidance Services)
706 Wheaton Street
Savannah, Georgia

Greenbriar Children’s Center, Inc.
3709 Hopkins Street
Savannah, GA 31405

Cynthia Wright
Carriage Trade Public Relations™

Local Rotary Announces 2018 Group Study Exchange Team to Travel to India in January

Local Rotary Announces 2018 Group Study Exchange Team to Travel to India in January
The local district of Rotary has selected seven members for its Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to travel to Hyderabad, India in mid-January 2018.

(SAVANNAH, HINESVILLE, JESUP) Rotary District 6920, located in southeast Georgia, is sending a Group Study Exchange (GSE) team to Hyderabad, India in early 2018.

John Neely, Past District Governor and Savannah East Rotary Club member, has been designated as the group’s team leader. “I’m thrilled to lead this outstanding group of individuals to India come January,” said Neely. “Each one of us is excited to partake in Rotary’s motto of ‘Service Above Self.’”

During the month-long trip, team members will stay in Rotarian’s homes, attend Rotary Club meetings, have vocational days, visit Rotary-sponsored humanitarian projects and tour cultural sites. Members will also participate in Polio National Immunization Day, as the eradication of polio is one of Rotary’s largest missions.

Neely will be joined by four of the following team members that are undergoing training for the trip:

Brigitte Shanken, Assistant Governor and Hinesville Rotary Club member.
Joey Darley, member of the Jesup Rotary Club.
Jasmine Head, of Savannah.
Cari Phelps, Metro Savannah Rotary Club member.
Lisa Grove, member of the Savannah Rotary Club.
Jose Dacruz, member of the Savannah East Rotary Club.

The remaining two members will be designated as alternates.

A team from District 3150 in India will travel through our District 6920 in April and attend the District Conference in Jekyll Island. Clubs wanting the India team to visit their communities should contact GSE Co-Chairs Justin Godchaux or Andy Lohn.

To apply for the GSE, individuals’ applications were solicited, and applicants were interviewed by Neely and the GSE Committee. It is anticipated that a team will travel again next year to Sri Lanka.

To learn more about Rotary District 6920, please visit: Follow the 6920 team on Facebook at Rotary District 6920 GSE Team.

2018 Group Study Exchange Team

From left to right: Cari Phelps, Lisa Grove, Jasmine Head, Brigitte Shanken, John Neely, Jose Dacruz, Joey Darley

About Rotary District 6920
District 6920 consists of 62 clubs with a membership of over 3,200 members scattered throughout southeast Georgia to include Macon, Augusta, Valdosta, Brunswick, Camden, Tift, and Savannah.

About Rotary International
Rotary International is a global network of 1.2 million neighbors, friends, leaders, and problem-solvers who come together to make positive, lasting change in communities at home and abroad. Our guiding principles have been the foundation of our values: service, fellowship, diversity, integrity, and leadership. Rotary members believe that we have a shared responsibility to take action on our world’s most persistent issues. For more information, please visit