Author: Ann Taylor

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.”

A Remodeled Retreat

Everyone has their own "How I Came to Vero Beach" story. For the Gillmores, it includes two generations, several countries and a partnership with local firms who understood the family's vision and transformed a John's Island home into a light-filled waterfront retreat.

The Trust Factor

When Melissa and David Bowser decided to renovate the John's Island condo that had belonged to Melissa's parents, they handed over the keys to a team of carefully chosen professionals, crossed their fingers and waved goodbye. It really came down to the trust factor.