October 2011

We Can Be Heroes

Author: David Gignilliat

Lindy and Gregg Russell want you to be a hero. You can even wear a cape and an “S” logo on your chest, if you like. As founders of Hilton Head Heroes, they’ve brought scores of deserving families with children suffering from life-threatening illnesses to Hilton Head Island for a one-of-a-kind resort vacation. Children are referred to the program through doctors, healthcare providers and hospital administrators. The families are housed in the Hilton Head Island HERO house located in Sea Pines Resort.

“This has become a true labor of love,” said Lindy Russell, whose husband Gregg has serenaded children (and their parents) under the Liberty Oak in Harbour Town for 35 years. “We’ve had so much help from the community over the years.”

The vacationing families are given gift certificates for use at local eateries, $100 cash and a $100 gift card to visit a local grocery store. The house is stocked with everyday items, including bathroom and kitchen accessories to make a family’s visit as turnkey as possible.

“Sometime I’ll show up to the house and there’s a bag of toilet paper hanging on the doorknob,” added Russell, who indicated she is still accepting donations for the HH Heroes House. “It’s really incredible how the community has reached out to help us.”

The group’s board of directors includes luminaries from all over the country, including golfer Corey Pavin, tennis legend Stan Smith and CBS sports broadcaster Jim Nantz. The Tidepointe community has been a steadfast support since the event’s inception, said Dene Wilmot, sales and marketing director at TidePointe.

For those looking to be a hero, the organization is hosting its signature fundraising event, “An Elegant Evening & Silent Auction,” on November 4, at the TidePointe Clubhouse. The TidePointe property is owned by Vi, which owns 20 rental communities among its nationwide portfolio. Having a dedicated corporate presence helps to guarantee a first-class setting for event attendees, to include ice sculptures, prime rib carving stations and a variety of wine tastings. Musician Annie Allman, an accomplished guitarist, represented locally by Westwind Entertainment, will provide the acoustic backdrop to the event. Tickets are $75 per person, and include dinner, cocktails and a silent auction.

“The wine tasting alone is worth the $75,” said Russell, who founded Hilton Head Heroes in 1998. “It’s funny. We have people from out of town that plan their trip to Hilton Head just to make this event.”

“It’s something that we can do to give back to our community,” said Wilmot, whose husband Steve is the tournament director of the RBC Heritage golf tournament. “We’ve established these relationships over the years, and the momentum is just continuing… It’s nice to know we have a community that can wrap its arms around an event and make it successful. At the end of the day, that’s what’s important—locals supporting locals.”


Please visit the Hilton Head Heroes website at hhheroes.com or call (843) 671-4939.

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