• October 2017 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

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    September 29, 2017
    Ruiz Appointed to Okaloosa TDC
    Destin CommonsThe Okaloosa County Commission recently appointed three people, including Destin Commons' Director of Marketing Heather Ruiz, to four-year unpaid terms on the county’s Tourist Development Council (TDC). Under the oversight of the Okaloosa County Board of County Commissioners, the TDC is run by county staff and an appointed council of nine individuals who are directly involved in the tourism industry. The primary responsibilities of the TDC are to promote tourism sales and increase overall visitation; operation of the Convention & Visitors Bureau, Convention Center, and Visitors Welcome Center; funding of Beach Safety Life Saving Program; funding of local special events; and research and evaluation of all programs to promote tourism along the Emerald Coast. Ruiz brings with her a background that spans 10 years in marketing and public relations on the Emerald Coast. Last year, Ruiz was the winner of the ICSC (International Council of Shopping Centers) Foundation’s John T. Riordan Professional Education Development Scholarship and has now completed both Marketing I and Marketing II courses. She is now eligible to sit for the certification exam to earn the prestigious Certified Marketing Director (CMD) designation from ICSC. Destin Commons was also recently named “For–Profit Communicator of the Year” by the Northwest Florida Coast Chapter of the Florida Public Relations Association.

    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Recognized for Applying Scientific Guidelines to Stroke Care
    Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has earned a place in the American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's roster of hospitals recognized for achievement in the Get With The Guidelines®–Stroke healthcare quality program. The list of award-winning hospitals appears in a 2017 U.S. News & World Report "Best Hospitals" issue congratulatory ad.  Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is a Gold Plus level recipient, award winner in stroke care. Fort Walton Beach Medical Center was also included on the Target: StrokeSM Honor Roll for ensuring that at least 50 percent of eligible stroke patients get treatment to restore blood flow to the brain within 60 minutes of arriving at the hospital — timing considered critical to limiting stroke damage. 

    American Heart Association/American Stroke Association's Get With The Guidelines offers a suite of hospital-based quality programs addressing a spectrum of cardiovascular conditions and stroke. Numerous published scientific studies demonstrate that adherence to Get With The Guidelines quality measures can lead to better patient outcomes, including increased survival.

    Destin Commons Donates to Children in Crisis
    Children In Crisis - Destin CommonsDestin Commons presented a $3,500 donation to Children in Crisis (CIC) from funds generated through its “Coins for a Cause” program and the Smoke on the Coast event. Seen here, Destin Commons Marketing Director Heather Ruiz presents the donation to CIC President & CEO Ken Hair, along with CIC Development Director Allie Noah and CIC Volunteer and Events Director Laura Moore. CIC will use the funds to feed, clothe, care, and give a home to the more than 100 children that will have a home at the CIC Neighborhood this year.



    ‘Inclusion Drives Innovation’ this October
    The US Department of Labor, Office of Disability Employment holds a National Disability Employment Awareness month every October. This year, The Arc of the Emerald Coast looks to support its efforts in bringing awareness to this year’s theme “Inclusion Drives Innovation” though a social media “Monday’s Message” campaign. With approximately 39.9 million individuals in the United States with disabilities, the numbers of those in the workforce are dramatically low. The Arc of the Emerald Coast wants to inform local business that it is not only good policy to have a workforce inclusive of diverse backgrounds and abilities, it also strengthens the business, increases competition, drives innovation, and leads to better solutions for the business. 

    Cardiologist Expands Patient Service Area
    Sacred Heart on the Emerald CoastBrent Chapman, MD, joined the team of physicians at Sacred Heart Hospital on the Gulf in Port St. Joe in December of last year. Due to the high request for cardiology services, he will now expand his service area to include Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Chapman is a board certified cardiologist with board certifications in interventional cardiology and internal medicine. He graduated cum laude from West Virginia University with a B.A. in biology. He received his medical degree from West Virginia University School of Medicine in Morgantown, W.V., and completed his residency training at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Ken. Chapman is a Fellow of the American College of Cardiology (FACC) with extensive experience and outstanding achievements and contributions to cardiovascular medicine. He has spearheaded high risk angioplasty programs and has special medical interests in percutaneous coronary intervention and angioplasty.

    Ruth’s Chris Steak House Raises $25,000 for Beverage Manager
    Ruth's Chris Steak HouseOn Sept. 12, Ruth’s Chris Steak House hosted the community, loyal patrons, and guests to a fundraiser for its Beverage Manager Skot Harville. Held in its East Bar Courtyard, the event, which was centered around the Harville family’s recent medical expenses, raised $25,000. Guests enjoyed live music by Michael J Thomas and Tom Devoursney, decadent catering stations specially prepared by Ruth’s Chris Steak House team, a silent auction, and a live auction by Luxury Estates Auction Company. Picture here (left to right) are Luxury Estates Auction Company Auctioneer Chris Camp; Luxury Estates Auction Company’s Vicki Stokes; Ruth's Chris Steak House Executive Chef Ruston Johnson; Harville; Ruth's Chris Steak House Manager Tyler Shook; Ruth's Chris Steak House General Manager Mike Sable; Ruth's Chris Steak House Marketing Manager Michael J. Thomas; Proffitt PR President Jessica Bracken; and Proffitt PR Marketing Assistant Lexi Willcoxon.

    Emerald Coast Theatre Company Receives $16,500 Donation
    Emerald Coast Theatre CompanyEmerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) received a $16,500 donation from St. Joe Community Foundation, Inc. The generous gift qualifies St. Joe Foundation as a title sponsor of ECTC’s 2017-2018 season and an Executive Producer of the ECTC Theatre for Young Audiences program. ECTC’s Professional Theatre for Young Audiences program showcases professional actors performing productions especially selected for young audience members. This is the third year the St. Joe Community Foundation has supported ECTC. Seen here, ECTC founders Nathanael and Anna Fisher, along with young thespians from ECTC’s Theatre Education program, celebrate the receipt of St. Joe Community Foundation’s gift.

    Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center Releases Seven Rehabilitated Sea Turtles
    Gulfarium Marine Adventure ParkGulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center released seven rehabilitated sea turtles at Langdon Beach in Fort Pickens - Gulf Islands National Seashore on Tuesday, Sept. 26.  The group consisted of four juvenile Green sea turtles and three Loggerhead sea turtles. Five of the seven were unintentionally hooked by fisherman at Navarre Beach Fishing Pier. An estimated 350 locals and tourists joined in on the excitement to observe the special occasion.  




    Rowell Joins Children’s Advocacy Center Board
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterMajor Audie Rowell of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office recently joined the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center’s (ECCAC) board of directors. With an extensive career in law enforcement since 1986 and the recipient of numerous awards, Rowell has worked with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office, Tallahassee Police Department, and now the Walton County Sheriff’s Office. He has served Walton County as Internal Affairs Commander, Professional Standards Bureau Chief, Support Services Bureau Chief, and Patrol Bureau Chief. He is currently the Director of Emergency Services. Being involved in the community is high on Rowell’s priorities as he serves on the Walton County Area Chamber board, the Emerald Coast Crime Stoppers board, and now ECCAC’s board. 



    Pure & Couture Salon in Destin Hosts Toiletry Drive for Shelter House
    Pure & Couture is donating its Paul Mitchell products to Shelter House and, in the process, has decided to open the toiletry drive to members of the community. Shelter House is need of shampoo, conditioner, body wash, deodorant, body spray, and razors. People can drop off donated toiletry items at Pure & Couture Salon, located in the shops of City Market Destin Beachside. 

    Call for Art & Craft Vendors for Annual Christmas Festival
    The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida invites Art/Craft/Antique Vendors to join us for Yule of Yesteryear – A Traditional Christmas Festival on Dec. 9, from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.  Art and Craft Vendors must produce quality, hand-crafted, original items only. To register or for more information, visit www.heritage-museum.org, e-mail info@heritage-museum.org, or call (850)  678-2615. Vendor space is limited.   

    OneBlood Sending Blood to Puerto Rico 
    OneBlood, the local not-for-profit blood center serving Florida and the majority of the Southeast, announced today that it has sent several shipments of blood to Puerto Rico following Hurricane Maria and plans to send more in the coming days and weeks. OneBlood is working closely with the American Red Cross, the Blood Centers of America (BCA), and America’s Blood Centers (ABC) to coordinate daily shipments of blood and platelets to hospitals in Puerto Rico. Widespread destruction, flooding, the lack of electricity, and the displacement of millions of people on the island is making blood collections in Puerto Rico extremely difficult.  As a result, the hospitals in Puerto Rico are in need of help from the mainland to help ensure a ready blood supply for their patients. To find a donor center or Big Red Bus near you, visit www.oneblood.org and click on the “Donate Now” tab in the upper right hand corner.

    Hilton Sandestin Beach Offers 15 Percent Off Catering for Military Personnel
    This fall, Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is proud to offer all active-duty military personnel 15 percent off catering services when they book a wedding ceremony or reception for 2017. This package is available by calling (850) 267-9600 or emailing mhale@hiltonsandestinbeach.com for more details. The military discount is applicable for weddings or receptions taking place by Dec. 31, and does not apply to previously contracted weddings.

    United Way Day of Caring Boasts Record Number of Volunteers
    United Way of Okaloosa-Walton CountiesThe United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties recently completed its 24th Annual Days of Caring with an unprecedented 904 volunteers donating hours of service valued at $81,720 toward the completion of community projects.  Starting with a kickoff event in Fort Walton Beach, the United Way coordinators organized teams and projects for five days in Fort Walton Beach, DeFuniak Springs, Niceville, Crestview, and Destin/South Walton. Destin/South Walton had 185 volunteers for its Day of Caring.    

    “It is simply amazing to see the turn-out of people from our local businesses and organizations, along with service members from our various military bases,” said United Way of Okaloosa-Walton Counties President & CEO Rick Owen.  “These benevolent, community-focused folks performed admirably in their various tasks for organizations that, for one reason or another, lacked the resources to perform these jobs in house.” 
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