Wednesday, February 11, 2009

From Here to There on Pawleys

The locals know the best way from here to there and it is not always what you would think from looking at a map.

Gary Cooper, the head of Winyah Community Health Services based on Pawleys Island, took me out on a drive this afternoon. He took me back off the main road to where Frances P. Bunnelle used to live. Mrs. Bunnelle's estate created the Frances P. Bunnelle Foundation an endowment that distributes several million dollars each year to Georgetown County nonprofits.

Of course I expected Mrs. Bunnelle's property to have a beautiful view of the river. I expected it to be hidden among spreading oaks with the Spanish moss looking timeless and sultry. That much looked familiar even though I had never seen the property before. What I did not expect was the return to the main road. More twists and turns on well-turned out streets and we were back on the main road; Highway 17.

Gary turned to me and said as we paused at the highway, "Do you know where you are now?" I am sure that you have experienced that moment when the scene snaps from strange to familiar. There is a bit of a sensory "pop" as recognition returns.

This time was a second time in the past hour that I felt that "pop." The first time was when Gary said to me that more than $125,000 had been donated to Winyah Community Health Services, a for profit company, from grateful families and relieved caregivers. You might know that Winyah runs hospice facilities throughout the Southeast from South Carolina to Mississippi. Hospice is familiar. Donations are familiar. Giving to for-profit companies is not.

That first "pop" of recognition was the return to familiarity. I knew all about the sense of completeness that comes from making a charitable gift. I just did not connect it with a for profit business.

Gary Cooper's company will be creating an endowment fund with Coastal Community Foundation to provide grateful families and friends a way to give back. Familiar territory to me, unfamiliar road to get there.

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