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Message From The Mayor Of Sullivan’s Island: June 2020

Dear Island Neighbors,

 Ready or not, we are off and running for a very different summer! Pandemic with a side of popup May tropical storm … and that’s just so far.

I hope all of you are able to enjoy the season while staying safe and sane. These are challenging times for everyone, and all we know is we don’t know exactly what comes next.

I would like to again send out a most sincere and enthusiastic thank you to all of our wonderful town staff in all departments, who have often been working long and difficult hours during the pandemic. Of course, this includes all our police, fire, Town Hall, maintenance and water and sewer staff. And our town administrator, Andy Benke, who as always has been on top of things throughout this situation.

Please thank any employees you encounter. And remember, when they are looking after us, they have their own families and homes they are concerned about.


Fortunately, many of you are quite attentive to conditions and activities around the Island that may lead to unsafe conditions. If you see things such as unsafe clustering or illegal parking, please report them if you are concerned.

However, by “report,” I do NOT mean you should first contact social media, your favorite Council member’s (or mayor’s) cellphone or email or town employees whom you know. Your first report needs to be a call to someone who can address the situation AT THAT TIME.

 That would be the police. is fine to get help to move your late Great-Aunt Verna’s dresser out of the house but of little use if you want a partyin-progress on the beach interrupted.

As always, for emergencies where someone’s life or property is immediately threatened, call 911. But for items such as the unsafe or illegal activities above, please call the Charleston County Consolidated Dispatch at 843-743-7200.

Following their required protocol, they will ask you a number of questions, but be assured that they will have sent a message to the appropriate first responders at the beginning of your call.

Feel free later to also report such issues to all of us on Council; we always appreciate this information. But if your intention is to improve the specific situation that caught your eye, you should first call the Dispatch Center as noted above.

 Then you can handle Verna’s dresser. But check behind and under all the drawers to be sure you’re not sending some of her little stashes of cash away with it!


Every year in this month, I exhort you to attend the annual Fire and Rescue Squad Fish Fry. And always, for those of you familiar with my day job, I declare that all the fish dinners sold there will be calorie-free.

Unfortunately, for once, I’m telling the truth on that count.

After a 70-year nonstop run since it started in 1949, Fire Chief Anthony Stith regretfully but understandably announced that this year the event will have to be canceled because of the pandemic. Of course, a group whose purpose is to protect our health and life would not want to stage an event that might compromise those things by promoting unsafe clustering of people during these COVID times. Nonetheless, it’s a particularly local reminder of how different things have to be these days.

And, if you haven’t heard, the annual Floppin’ Flounder road race, which takes its name from the Fish Fry, also has been canceled.

In addition to the great community gathering the Fish Fry provides, the most important part of this event has always been that its proceeds go to the SI Volunteer Fire and Rescue Squad, which began in 1948. This wonderful group of volunteers provides critical support for our and our visitors’ safety throughout the year. They respond to all the emergencies that occur much more frequently than you suspect: fires, medical emergencies, beach injuries, beach and other water rescues. If it were not for this group of community spirited folks – most of whom don’t even live here – we and our visitors would be much less safe. Most of the equipment you see the Fire and Rescue Squad use is bought with funds they raise from events like this.

However, even though the Fish Fry won’t occur this year, you can still support this wonderful group of folks who put themselves at risk to keep us safe.

Please consider making a donation to:

Sullivan’s Island Fire and Rescue

P.O. Box 104

Sullivan’s Island, S.C. 29482

Or drop it off at Town Hall or the fire station. No added calories, however you convey it. And Chief Stith assures us: “We will be back!” A great message in many ways…

See you around the Island!

 Pat O’Neil, Mayor


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