Author: Photography by Kelly Rogers

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.

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.”

Flight Plans

Ian Cooper was 21 years old when he arrived at FlightSafety Academy in Vero Beach in 1997 from his home on the south coast of England. He was well on his way to earning his commercial pilot’s license with dreams of becoming an airline pilot. Fast forward nearly 25 years, and he’s co-owner of the Vero Beach flight school, now named Skyborne Academy. “I love this place,” he says.

A Road to the Past

Have you ever wondered where the name “Jungle Trail” came from? It certainly fits the lush environment that surrounds the dirt road, but the real story involves a fictional pirate and a Treasure House. Today, the 7.5 mile road that leads to Pelican Island National Wildlife Refuge, Joe Michael Memorial Trail, Centennial Trail Boardwalk and more is on the National Register of Historic Places.

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.

Save Your Skin

Even when stacked up against Florida’s other 66 counties, Indian River has one of the highest melanoma rates. But our mortality rate from melanoma is much lower than one might expect. When it comes to skin cancer, prevention and early detection are very much within our control.

Exploring History

The discrepancy in where Juan Ponce de Leon landed is significant — about 150 miles. Of interest to Indian River County residents is that, instead of four counties away, 20th century historian and navigator Douglas Peck estimates that the historic landing took place in the southern stretch of neighboring Brevard County, just a few miles north of what is now the Sebastian Inlet.

Here Comes the Son

“George runs this store better than I ever did and has better ideas,” says Gail Williams. Her son disputes this characterization, however. “My mother built a very successful business, and what I am doing is building on that success.” George knows the value of following a winning formula, and that is a primary focus today because, after all, his mother has been in the furniture business in Vero Beach for 40 years.

Holding Sands

Our economy is simultaneously beach-prosperous and beach-vulnerable. Each year, more than 100 million tourists flock to Florida’s beaches — ranked our state’s No. 1 attraction — spending $90 billion and creating 1.5 million jobs. Indian River County figures credit our beaches with $33 million in recreation spending annually. Simply put: Tourist dollars flow to everyone; without beach there is no Vero Beach as we know it.

Jewels of the Sea

Vero Beach resident Dutch Feuchter, a gifted painter in the impressionist style, was an enthusiastic collector of seashells. As an artist with a deep love of nature, Feuchter treasured seashells as natural works of art. When he passed away several years ago, he left behind an extensive collection, lovingly built up over many decades.