What makes it local: It takes a village


Hilton Head Island resident Carol Bartholomew sent us the following letter about what being local means to her. She has a long history working with Sea Pines Resort and as a volunteer for the RBC Heritage golf tournament. LOCAL Life welcomes letters to the editor and comments to our website. Write to [email protected]

Carol Bartholomew
Carol Bartholomew is shown with a sign for Pockets Full of Sunshine, a local nonprofit she helped form that provides social and vocational opportunities for adults with disabilities.

My love affair with Hilton Head Island is deep-rooted and unwavering, having arrived here in 1983 as a college graduate traveling with NBC Sports to different golf and tennis venues. Along the way, I decided to stay and took a job as a Sea Pines Resort marketing assistant working with the resort’s great visionary and founder, Charles Fraser.

My career opportunities within the company were exciting and soon I became involved as marketing and media director for golf tournaments and events. Today, I continue as volunteer coordinator of media relations for the RBC Heritage Presented by Boeing.

Back then, I experienced the good old days of simple, island living. Fast forward to today and the natural beauty and magic of this island still resonates.

It’s hard to believe that I’ve been a Sea Pines resident for 36 years … I married my high school sweetheart, RJ, and became mom to three wonderful children – Annie, James and Sally, and surrounded myself with family and a wide swath of friends.

Raising children can be a daunting task and raising a child with special challenges puts life in a totally different perspective. My daughter, Sally, has special needs and is an inspiration to all of us. She is a happy 24-year-old young lady who is surrounded by the love of her family, the help of her friends, and the support of this community. She is very active and can be seen at many festivals and events, a frequent diner in all the local restaurants, and a movie and music aficionado. She greets everyone with a big hug and a smile.

Sea Pines is Sally’s safe haven as she has lived her entire life in the plantation and feels very comfortable and loved by our wonderful, supportive neighbors. It truly does take a village to raise a child.

We make every effort to do things as a family but, when it’s not practical we divide and conquer. Unfortunately, that means RJ and I are often doing things apart to satisfy the demands of our entire family. While out, RJ will run into old friends and they’ll ask about the family or how I am. He’ll say straight-faced, “Carol and I are separated” at which they look aghast and then he smiles and says, “I’m here tonight while Carol’s in Bluffton!” Humor certainly keeps things in perspective.

Pockets Full of Sunshine (PFS) is an organization that RJ and I helped form to support people with special needs and this passion consumes much of our time. Our mission is to make the Lowcountry a sunnier place through the creation of inclusive employment and socialization opportunities for exceptional individuals. Through these activities, PFS increases their exposure to and interaction with our community, providing adults with disabilities increased independence, growth and a sense of personal pride.

RJ and I have big plans for Sally and her friends and with the ongoing support and generosity of our community, the PFS mission will be realized sooner rather than later. It is a true testament of just how special our little corner of the world truly is.

And, when given the chance, I am always rejuvenated and energized by a walk on the beach, absorbing Mother Nature’s raw power. The healing properties of fresh air and salt water are so familiar and strengthening.

The beach is what drew me to Hilton Head 36 years ago and continues to be my oasis.