Jun 20 2017

Letter From The Mayor Of Sullivan’s Island: June 2017

Pat O’Neil

Dear Island Neighbors,

Summer is here, and there is absolutely no excuse for boredom on Sullivan’s Island. Lots of events in the weeks to come. But before we get to all the events, a new public safety tool for the island…


Our public safety professionals frequently get calls concerning people at possible peril, whose whereabouts cannot be precisely noted. Think missing child at the beach, missing dementia patient somewhere on the Island, boaters in trouble, swimmers in apparent trouble out in the harbor…the unfortunate list goes on. And then there are apparent offenders who are fleeing. Locating these folks quickly is always a challenge.

Recently the Town acquired two drones, one each for the Fire and Rescue Squad and one for the Police Department. These are definitely important tools for locating people quickly when necessary.

In case you missed it, here is a link to a very informative demonstration on the capabilities of these new public safety tools, broadcast a few weeks ago on ABC News 4, AKA WCIV: bit.ly/SIdrones. And now to our midsummer’s days’ and nights’ events, starting with the…


The annual Fish Fry, which benefits our great Fire and Rescue Squad, is this Saturday, June 24 from 5-8 p.m. at the Fish Fry Shack.

A lot of the equipment used by the Squad in their critical water rescue work (e.g., jet skis) is paid for by the volunteers through events such as the Fish Fry. Come out to visit with your neighbors, support the Fire and Rescue Squad, and of course, enjoy some tasty fish and music, with beverages for purchase.

Tickets are available in advance at the Fire Station, Town Hall, Sea Island Harris Teeter, and Simmons Seafood. But you can also buy them at the Fish Fry itself…$5 per dinner in either case (but please feel free to make an extra donation.) And for those of you who know my day job, yes, I will personally be enjoying the fried fare from this great once-a-year community event. Everything in moderation.


Wednesday, June 28, is Carolina Day. But this year it starts Saturday, June 24. As we know, Carolina Day commemorates the first decisive victory over the British by the American patriots in the colonies’ fight for independence. On June 28, 1776, American forces at the underconstruction fort on Sullivan’s Island staved off an attack by an impressive British naval fleet. The fort was being built from parallel rows of stacked palmetto logs with sand in between them. The spongy palmetto logs were able to absorb and survive the British cannonballs without exploding, allowing the under-resourced Americans to prevail.

In the course of the battle, the patriots’ regimental flag (featuring a white crescent on an indigo background) was knocked down, and Sgt. William Jasper (an immigrant to America from Germany) risked his life to re-raise the flag until another staff was installed.

The American patriots succeeded in staving off the British onslaught, so our Island was the scene of one of the very first victories in our nation’s war for independence. And as a result our iconic South Carolina flag incorporates the palmetto tree into the earlier flag with crescent and indigo background. Because it all started right here, it’s appropriate that there will be Island events commemorating this victory.

On Saturday, June 24, at Ft. Moultrie, there will be advance Carolina Day programs. The fort will be open from 9 to 5 with fees waived for the day. There will be Revolutionary War re-enactors throughout the day, and musket drills and firing demonstrations at 10 a.m., 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. At 1 p.m. there will be a program about that 1776 British plan to attack Charleston by Dr. Eric Emerson, Director of the South Carolina Department of Archives and History.

On Wednesday, June 28, Carolina Day itself, at 4 p.m., the Town will have a brief ceremony to re-dedicate the stone monument to Sgt. Jasper’s bravery that formerly stood in front of the old Town Hall. It will be re-installed next to our new Town Hall, thanks to the urging of Town Councilmember Mark Howard.

The provenance of this memorial is a bit cloudy. We know it was erected by the “North Carolina Pine Association” but the plaque gives no date. Some island old-timers (looking at you, Chief Stith) remember it being elsewhere before it was planted in front of the old Town Hall.

Whatever the origin of the monument, we will learn more about Sgt. Jasper at this event from Msgr. Lawrence McInerny of Stella Maris, an Island native and history buff. Father McInerny will offer some background on this immigrant who contributed to our nation’s founding and gave us the first and most enduring image of our State’s spirit…right here on the Island. Hope to see you there!


Thursday, June 28 is the last day of our Island Farmers’ Market. ‘Nuff said. Be there. It’s your last chance till next year. 2:30-7 p.m.


Tuesday, July 4 is Independence Day. A traditionally fun-filled day on the island. Our ever-growing golf cart parade will assemble at the school at 8:30 a.m. Parade begins at 9 a.m. and heads to the Fish Fry Shack.

Get that golf cart decorated for the competition. And on the other side of the day, our Independence Day celebration at the Stith Park starts off at 6 p.m. with music by “Permanent Vacation”. A really great fireworks show will start when darkness falls, around 9 p.m. Please remember that no dogs or alcohol are allowed at the event. See you around the island!

Pat O’Neil, Mayor




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