Author: Ann Taylor

Working Wonders

Camp Haven, a nonprofit organization that receives no federal funding, opened its doors just seven years ago, and since then, more than 200 men in Indian River County have transformed their lives. Chuck Bradley, executive director, explains, "When residents graduate, they're gainfully employed and have a purpose; they have their lives back."

Claying for Keeps

Indian River Clay has found a new home on 16th Street, a building that couldn’t have been more made to order, where potters can use the new space to spread their artistic wings. Maria Sparsis agrees. “Clay people are different in that we like to work with other potters to encourage each other, to share what we’ve done. Our studio makes that all possible.”

Blest Be the Ties That Bind

Sylvia Gregory, president of the Scottish Society of the Treasure Coast, and Roy Thompson, president emeritus, agree that it’s time to look forward after a “year of quiet solitude.” While celebrating the group’s 25th anniversary this year, they are excited about what the future holds, and are eager to welcome new members who want to learn about Scotland and their heritage.

Best of Both Worlds

“When I think about Vero and my home there, I’m always smiling. There’s something about the similarity between Cohasset and Vero Beach — they’re both small and inviting, and the beauty of the ocean and nature can be seen everywhere … The way I see it, I have the best of both worlds,” smiles Andrea Wade. The Surf Club condo Wade chose as her new home is now fully renovated, decorated and breathtaking.

On the Level

“I’ve always loved it here. I worked for Croom Construction every summer and during school breaks since I was 13, but never really thought I’d return,” admits Charles Croom. But after 10 years working in Orlando, the move back to Vero Beach was the right thing for he and his wife Jennifer. “What was appealing to me when I decided to join the company my father started was to continue the legacy. I’m where I was meant to be.”

Playing Her Strong Suit

Gerre Rhodes has been in business for 40 years on Beachland Boulevard in Vero Beach. “You ask why I’m still working, where I get my energy. I don’t have an answer other than I’m a firm believer that you need to do something that keeps you busy, helps keep your mind working, and makes you happy. I enjoy what I do, I love my customers, and I love life!”

One Smart Cookie

Amy Mallouk is obsessed with cookies! In 2020, COVID derailed her work in what was turning into a dream job with Disney. Rather than dwell on the negative, the young entrepreneur has taken her artistic talent and turned it into a custom cookie making business operating out of her mother’s kitchen in Indian River County.

Saving McKee

“We both knew we had something special here.” Suzan Phillips and Susan Schuyler Smith barely knew each other when they came to the conclusion together that they’d do anything they could to save McKee. For five years, the two Susans and the “Saturday Morning Gang” met each week to fight for the beauty that opened twenty years ago as McKee Botanical Garden.

A Bright Future

Stuart Hirstein is looking towards greater achievements for his students as head of Saint Edward’s School. “We aim to graduate students who will be prepared for college and beyond, who will be active and valuable citizens in their communities, and who exhibit the power of human kindness and a generosity of spirit,” Hirstein emphasizes. “Knowing how far we’ve come, and with an eye on where we’re going, I’m looking forward to a bright future!”

In the Driver's Seat

College and a budding career kept Jessica Linus Watford far from Florida, but when she was ready for something new, working at her family’s business for a summer seemed like the perfect way to plan her next move. It didn’t take long before she realized she not only liked the work she was doing at the Linus Cadillac Buick GMC dealership, but she was good at it.

Ship to Shore

Unable to find the type of shoe he needed, Vero Beach native Lange Sykes decided to build them himself, which is how Riomar Shoes was born. “It’s interesting — I wear my shoes every day and I continue to get compliments. I’m really proud to have founded this company here in my hometown of Vero Beach.“

Chain of Events

It wasn’t a planned passing of the torch from one generation to the next. Far from it. In fact, at one time, Suzanne Leigh-Vilas saw herself standing in front of a classroom instructing and inspiring students. Preparing lesson plans and grading papers would fill her after-school hours. “When I was in college, I never thought I’d be back in Vero Beach, let alone working here at the store. I’m really glad how things turned out. I’m happy here.”

Tees to Success

IRGF is introducing young players to the game while teaching them life skills. Our mission is to create programs and events that promote knowledge, player development and service in the game of golf,” PGA Life Member and Master Professional Roger Van Dyke explains. “Golf is not only fun, it teaches values and good manners and places honesty above winning. There’s no referee out there on the course to determine whether or not your shot was within the rules. It’s all up to you.”

Lifting Lives

“The impact UP has made throughout the last year is a true testament to our dedicated staff’s collective embodiment of our purpose, which is to inspire and empower people living in poverty to lift themselves and their families to economic self-sufficiency. Everyone here has a heart for the mission.”