Message From The Sullivan’s Island Mayor: September 2022

Dear Island neighbors,

 I hope you are enjoying these relatively quieter and less crowded days, the start of football season and the welcome transition to less hot days. Also marking the end of our summer season… the end of twice weekly garbage pickup. For what you need to know about garbage, household trash, yard debris and recycling on the Island, please go to SIgarbage. And at our home page, you can see the Town calendar which includes dates of all those pickups. 


We have extended the deadline for applications for service on the Board of Zoning Appeals and the Tree Commission. The new deadline is 5 p.m. Friday, Sept. 16. You can learn more about these important Town bodies and get downloadable applications at: BandCApplication. Please consider these opportunities to contribute to our community, to learn more about Town functions and meet the other Islanders who are involved. And you never know what might happen. Many moons ago I timidly handed my first application for the Planning Commission to Mayor Marshall Stith.

(However, you do not need to commit to a later run for office to serve on any of our boards or commissions). 


We recently had a fine event to unveil the new historic marker at the Station 18 ½ beach path honoring the exploits of the late Lt. Col. Jimmie Dyess. He is the only person to receive America’s two highest awards for heroism: the Medal of Honor and the Carnegie Medal (not to mention achieving the rank of Eagle Scout). Col. Dyess was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for his valor in WWII during battle against the Japanese on Roi Namur Atoll in the Marshall Islands. From the program for the marker’s dedication event: “Just as dusk was settling on the first day of the battle, Dyess fought his way through enemy lines saving the lives of four wounded Marines. He was killed the next day while leading his men as they attacked a Japanese pillbox.” That is clearly awe-inspiring, but you may wonder, what’s that got to do with that beach path? The connection is the Carnegie Medal, which Dyess earned at an earlier age. 

The Carnegie Medal is the highest award for civilian heroism given in the US and Canada. In the summer of 1928, 19-year-old Clemson student Jimmie Dyess was visiting the Island, and while around Station 18 ½, he saw a woman who was near drowning. He dove into the surf to rescue both her and then another woman who was exhausted from attempting to rescue her. The erection of the marker so close to the site of this heroic rescue, and the execution of the event unveiling it, were the results of efforts by a number of people on and off the island. 

When Col. Dyess was killed, he left behind a young daughter, Connor. The effort to recognize Col. Dyess was part of a broader and long-standing mission by the man who married Connor when she grew up: Retired Air Force Major General Perry M. Smith. Perry and Connor live in Augusta where they are very active in the community there and enjoy summer vacations on the Isle of Palms. Gen. Smith was the driving force behind creating the marker and celebrating its message with the unveiling event.

Islanders Hal Coste and Mike Walsh spearheaded the realization of Gen. Smith’s vision here, with able assistance from numerous Town staff including Administrator Andy Benke. Hal energetically researched the details of the surf rescue to make the case for the beach path location of the marker and helped promote the event. Mike, as President of the Battery Gadsden Cultural Center, along with numerous members of that important group, contributed greatly to marker and event efforts. Last but not least, Paul Wilbur did a great job organizing the event and creating a memorable experience. You’ve heard about the challenges of herding cats; Paul can herd Generals. Thanks to these and all the other folks who made this possible. Be sure to check out the marker…both sides…at the Station 18 ½ beach path. 


We expect to be able to occupy the greatly improved fire station in September. Our great firefighters and Fire and Rescue Squad Volunteers certainly deserve this much-improved facility…especially after a long stay in the temporary digs at the Fish Fry Shack. We will have a formal ribbon cutting ceremony when the public can take a look at the new facility, but it will likely be in a couple of months after all the items that have been victims of supply chain issues are installed. Stay tuned. 


It’s that time of year, so stay alert (but not panicked) for information about any tropical storms or hurricanes that may pose a threat to us. We get plenty of warning these days, but it only helps if you have your plan in place to activate, should conditions warrant. 

See you around the Island! 

Pat O’Neil, Mayor

 843 670 9266 


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