We are Thankful

As in years past, we asked islanders to tell us what they were most thankful for. In lieu of that or in addition to it, we asked them to tell us their ‘best Daufuskie story” or complete the sentence “Only on Daufuskie…” Here are their responses:

heart_in_handAnita Cohen: I am grateful for all our wonderful friends on Daufuskie who make it hard for us to leave.  But also for all our happy healthy kids out west who are the reason for our leaving.  Thank you Daufuskie Island for being such an amazing home for us for the past 12 years. Only on Daufuskie can you leave your house and never feel that you need to lock your doors.

Kinsely Roberts: I am thankful for sharing with Cheyanne. Only on Daufuskie I can play with my Pinky Pie Pony.

Amy Dungan: I am grateful for my new Daufuskie friends.

Casey Furman: I am grateful for my wife and children for our baby that is due in December.

Tammy Kelley: I am thankful for my friends and family. I’m thankful for community on Daufuskie. I’m thankful for Martha Stewart’s recognition of Chase Allen and his work. I’m thankful that one day I might be able to play tennis again.

Fred & Nancy Ludtke: We are thankful for being able to worship, speak and learn in a free society, when so many of the world’s countries are oppressed.  

Jodee Brunning: I am very grateful to all who have helped out in the garden at the Community Farm during the year. We had several successful and fun work days and I appreciate all that the volunteers have done to build, plant, and care for the garden beds, as well as those who provided sustenance. I am especially thankful to Chris Candau and his team of carpenters for the lovely new potting shed!

Dave Hutton: Only on Daufuskie do really young, middle aged and older people all hang out together.

Mary Ettinger: Only on Daufuskie can I canter my horse on the beach barefoot.

Steve Hill: I am grateful for my wife. Only because I live on Daufuskie have I resorted to strange behavior in order not to miss the boat. Once running late in the grocery store, I grabbed the loudspeaker microphone and called “Will Mary Ellen Hill come to aisle 2 immediately.” We made the boat.

Rob Hunter: Only on Daufuskie does everyone wave at you when passing.

Jodi Smith:  Only on Daufuskie could I raise 3 children while starting three businesses and love every minute of it.

Trinity Adams: I am grateful for God and my family.

Mary Ellen Hill: I am grateful for my husband.

Milton Deitch: My favorite things about Daufuskie are the peace and quiet and the natural beauty.

Barbie Mobley; I am thankful for my mom making me lunch. Only on Daufuskie I can play with Mike and George, my two cats.

Wayne Huff: My favorite Daufuksie story took place a long time ago. When I first visited Daufuskie I met Wick Scurry. He told me that a Native American put a curse on the island years ago so that no one could ever make money on the island.

Debbie Miller: Only on Daufuskie can you see two different types of snakes in one day.

Clare Moller: I am thankful for Michael Cross and the Hospital for Special Surgery.

Harmon Whitaker: I am thankful for my loving dad. Only on Daufuskie can I ride my four wheeler.

Tony Phelps: I am grateful for my dog Jack.

Charlie Small: I’m most grateful when I return to Daufuskie and realize this is where I was meant to be at this stage of my life. Quite honestly, I pinch myself at how lucky I have been to have my health, my family, and my wonderful friends so close to me on this wonderful island.

Lisa Butler: Only on Daufuskie can you sit down for lunch in your own home and look up to find 3 unknown women peering at you through your windows.

Sherman Washington: I am grateful for my three granddaughters. They are the only reason I am on Daufuskie.

Meredith Dulany: What I love about Daufuskie is the quiet, the peace in the woods and the ability to unplug and be away from everything.

Kate Woodward: My strangest Daufuskie story: When we bought our house on 3 Magnolia Lane we discovered that the people we bought it from lived on the street behind us in Maryland. Small world!

Vickie Evans: I am grateful that we have four weddings down and all our daughters are finally married.

Destiny Goolsby: I am thankful for my mom and dad.

Jim Howe: My only on Daufuskie story: At my college homecoming I was asked by one of my old fraternity brothers, who was always hard of hearing, where I was now living. When I told him, he thought that I was telling him to perform an impossible physical act upon himself!  Obviously, he had a hard time interpreting the word “Daufuskie”.   

Nancy Kimball: I am thankful that my 93 year old dad made a full recovery after he fell and broke his shoulder. After a long hospitalization he is now doing well. I am also thankful for my family, friends and that I have such a beautiful place to live.

Bayne Birckenstaedt: I am thankful when the Hooded Merganser ducks return to our lagoon each year.

Justin Eskins: I am thankful for my mom and dad.

Janet Adams: I am grateful that my daughter Kate and son-in-law Josh, their two boxers, Killer and Penny and pet snake Sly moved in with me on September 1st. Only on Daufuskie do you take a day trip over to Hilton Head and return with antibiotics for a neighbor’s cat, antibiotics for a visitor’s child, a saw blade for the Community Farm and a live mouse to be fed to a pet snake.

Deborah Smith: The thing I love most about Daufuskie is that it is Daufuskie!

Jeff Winholdt: I am grateful that I can work at my own pace, I am thankful for the people here, the atmosphere and the slow pace of the island.

Christophe Candeau: I am grateful for friends, family, Daufuskie Island and the kids. Only on Daufuskie can I be happy and enjoy life. Also I can ride horses on the beach.

Geoff Jenkins: Only on Daufuskie can you wake up in the morning with nothing to do and go to bed at night with it only half done. I am grateful for being given the opportunity of discovering a special island of friends who help in making every day a wonderful experience.

Diane Kee: I am thankful for Daufuskie for many reasons. It provides a close up experience with nature that involves others who have like appreciations. Fresh air, beautiful moss draped trees, ocean breezes, ocean sounds, fresh garden food, sweet farm animals with their babies and strong caring relationships that could only occur on a small bridge-less island – 10 square miles of sand and everything on it.

Eileen Pojednic: My thanksgiving thanks this year includes all the beautiful venues on this island and all the staff that supports them. I’m most especially grateful for late afternoons at the Melrose Beach Club pool where I take the time to enjoy my great passion – reading and loving the view out the Atlantic. How lucky we are here!

Chris Hutton: It is the people here that make the difference. Daufuskie has been very good to me and that is what I love about it.

Mike Davis: My favorite things about Daufuskie are the people and the peacefulness.

Ed Kee: What I love most about Daufuskie is that there are not street lights anywhere near my house.

Jim Miller: I am grateful to be here – above ground.

Debbie Hull: What better place to enjoy close friends in a wonderful environment… May it never change!

Chase Allen: What I love most about Daufuskie is the lack of development and nature.

Sara Deitch: I am thankful for Daufuskie peace and quiet, Daufuskie friends and neighbors, beautiful sunrises and sunsets, bountiful  wild life with the variety of land and water creatures, my wonderful loving companion of 55 years, every day that I wake up fresh for a new day .

Elaine Donohoe: I am thankful that my family love to come visit.

Carl Walter: I am grateful for my family, my grandchildren and loving wife.

Julie Klemm: I am grateful for the island and all it has to offer

Ricky Stevens: I am thankful just to be here. I am also grateful that I have my family and they are all well.

Debbie McKeeman: I am thankful for my wonderful husband and children, Dave, Tyler and Matt. I am thankful that my sister-in-law, Jeanne, continues to fight and survive her battle with breast cancer. I am also thankful and fortunate to live on beautiful and serene Daufuskie Island surrounded by wonderful and caring friends.

Geoff Brunning: I would like to pay tribute to the ferry captains who get us all back and forth safely, with a special thanks from me to the barge captains for bringing over our building materials. Thanks guys.

Harriet Delnero: I am grateful for my grandchildren

Barb McCallion: I am grateful that my husband is an excellent cook.

Kristi Nelson: I am grateful for all of the support and enthusiasm shown by fellow islanders for the distillery

Barb Heenan: I’m most grateful to be living here. (Through Bill’s hard sell) This year has proven to me what a wonderful, caring community we live in. We need to appreciate how fortunate we are to be able to be a part of this extraordinary island – through its beauty and all who make it such a special place.

Aaron Crosby: I am grateful for my kids.

Leanne Coulter: I am grateful for the peace and quietness of Daufuskie Island.

Len Pojednic: I thank the Lord every day for Eileen`s love and support. And also for our wonderful thirty-something children, our two pre-teen grandsons. our extended family  and all of our neighbors and friends on Daufuskie island , especially Miss Pat ( Everyones Favorite Farm Girl).  

Barbara Barrett: I am grateful for this beautiful day on Daufuskie and that so many people came out to support the school.

Melissa Lehmberg: Only on Daufuskie can you watch the sunrise & sunset over the water, does school gets cancelled because the school bus broke down. And only on Daufuskie is citronella a fragrance choice. We are new to the island, but this is what we’ve noticed so far.

Tony Chase: I am grateful that she said “yes”!  And for the amazing support for the rum company.

Janis Campbell: Only because I live on Daufuskie am I asked “What do you do about groceries?”

Jenny Hirsch: I am grateful for the spartina grass and oyster beds that keep Daufuskie’s shoreline stable.

Jim Woodward: I am grateful that everyone is healthy and doing well.

Linda Blanchette: I am grateful that both my sons, their wives and my grandchildren all came over to visit us from England when they could have gone anywhere in the world.

Pat Huff: I am grateful for the same thing I am grateful for every year: good health, because if you don’t feel well you can’t enjoy anything.

Brian Dozier: I am grateful for good times, good friends and for Brandy.

Susie Thompson: I am so thankful for having found this strange little island. Before moving here I was quite comfortable living in my home town near family and familiar surroundings and pretty much staying to myself feeling I would rather die than have to attend a social function. But, we jumped feet first onto Daufuskie believing this was our destiny despite family pleas to not move. I have fallen totally in love with this quirky place, its history, its diversity, the wonderful people, even the dust! I look forward to social events now and dread having to leave for any reason. This is turning out to be the happiest and busiest time of my life. Thank you Daufuskie!!

Ernestine Simmons: I am grateful for my granddaughter and good friends.

James Bays: I am grateful for health and family.

Laura Duggan: It’s the story I tell all the time.  Only on Daufuskie can you see 14 different animals on your way to work in the morning! That’s my record so far.

Kathy Wagoner: I am thankful for the long and wonderfully full life of my father who passed away peacefully in October this year at age 91. He was a guiding light for me in so many ways, role-modeling right until the end for me. I will never forget or stop loving him, and am grateful for the eternal peace he now enjoys.

Ben & Mardi Booker: This year we are blessed with our first grandchild.  A beautiful baby girl, named Annabelle Ruth. She is a miracle for our family!

Ginny Robitaille:  Last spring my cousin and I took an adventure tour of Daufuskie. We arrived via zodiac, were given a golf cart and told to return to the same dock 4 hours later for our return zodiac trip to Hilton Head. We had a grand time exploring the island. However, our return zodiac never showed up! Everything was starting to close up, the store, the last ferry had already departed. The only place open was the little restaurant/bar by the ferry landing. We went in and asked the bartender for help and discovered that unless we knew someone at Haig Point there really wasn’t any other option for a boat.  A family, father, mother, daughter, and two grandchildren were just finishing up their meal, overheard our conversation and offered their assistance as they were Haig Point residents. They piled us into their golf car and  took us to their dock where a boat was waiting for us. Thanks to the Schultz family for such a random act of kindness! Daufuskie Island is truly a gem and will always hold a place in our hearts. Bristol, Rhode Island

Judy and Gary Vaccaro: We are very thankful for the Daufuskie experience. The people, the sense of community, and of course, the beauty of our island.

Lib Brooks: Grateful my brother found Daufuskie years ago and shares it with family members The isolation of the island gives time to be quiet and listen and renew! Beautiful!

Pat Beichler: What I am grateful for this year is the same as every year since I landed on Daufuskie.  The beauty of God’s gifts to me and the most blessed gift of all is the people of this wonderful island.

Vicki Nolfi: The world has opened up to our grandson, Noah, now that he has Cochlear Implants. He knows my voice when we talk on Face Time, he stops to listen to the birds. His speech skills are amazing. I am so grateful for the technology and doctors that have enabled this curious little boy to hear!

Laura Leigh Miles: I am thankful for life and health, and for the best friends and family!!

Sharon Havird: A favorite Daufuskie memory: My college girlfriends and I have been coming to Daufuskie annually for 20 plus years. Each year we add fun to our reunion by adding a theme. About 15 years ago, the “Sweet Potato Queens” came to the island. Some of you might remember seeing a wacky group of women sporting short dresses, big bosoms and very big hair! Rocking the look, we featured ourselves in our own island golf cart Sweet Potato Queen Parade! Lots of love, laughs and a few beverages made this weekend a Daufuskie memory, like my college girl friends, both are held close to my heart! Thank you Daufuskie!

Mary Rivers: When asked this question, most people say family and health.  And it is true, year after year, if you have family and your health, then you should be thankful and grateful. 

Clinton Miles IV: I am thankful for my daddy coming home every night now and I am thankful for going to school. Only on Daufuskie can I play games with Tony.

Karen Opderbeck: I am grateful for whatever led my husband and I to take that first ferry boat ride to Daufuskie in March, 2000. 

Cheyanne Holcomb: I am thankful for my mom and dad. Only on Daufuskie can you do whatever you want.

Roger Pinckney: Only on Daufuskie can you meander down a dirt road, stop your truck next to another truck and innocently pass a joint to George W. Bush’s criminal defense attorney.

Jodi Wilson: I am most thankful that my husband is still making progress towards his recovery (slowly but surely) and still has his fight in him. I am thankful for my children who are amazingly strong. And also very thankful for all of our old friends and our new friends that we have made this past year. We miss you Daufuskie, Happy Thanksgiving!!

Presley Miles: I am thankful I am able to go to school again. Only on Daufuskie can you go barefoot.

Ron Gwyn: I am grateful for bourbon, barbecue, black labs and my wife. Only on Daufuskie is a tennis team disappointed if they “only” make it as far as states.

Kailee Furman: I am thankful for my mom giving birth to me. Only on Daufuskie can I go fishing with my mom, dad and Donovan.

Terry Elrod: I am thankful for my life – the one God gave me. I am happy I’m me and no one else. I can do me. I am also most grateful for the lessons God teaches me through hardships.

Mike Murphy: I am simply grateful for every new day.

Julie Meyer: I am grateful that I just went for a mammogram and it was clear.

Anna Phelps: I am thankful to be done with high school and on to the next chapter.

Tony Geyston: I am thankful for my love – my everything, Tegwar, bunnies, dogs and horses.

Suzanne Swanson: I don’t have a lot to be grateful for this year since my long standing business partner ended up fleecing me out of a substantial sum, but thank heaven you have thrown me a buoy in the form of a great memory and a good laugh. I was in the process of remodeling the house and had just completed the refinishing of the floors, which means that all the furniture was outside or on top of every inch of counter space. I was in bed early, in my usual T shirt, watching TV. The dogs had been sleeping on the porch. I got up to let them in. My 190 pound mastiff, Big Bonnie, had a grey something in her mouth which I thought was a blanket. She drops it at my feet and then I see that it is, in fact, a opossum. It appeared lifeless.  Now, you would think a lifelong Oklahoman, where opossums are common, would recognize “playing opossum.” I didn’t. I got the dogs, other than Big Bonnie who was busy pawing the opossum, into the bedroom and grabbed two bath towels so I could pick the thing up and at least put it on the porch. When I started to grab it, it jumps back to life and starts running around the living room, dining room and den, skidding on newly refinished floors, slick as glass, like a pool ball. The opossum hissed and spit, ran at me, between my legs, Big Bonnie in the chase all the while. There was no place for me to get out of its way as the counters were full. Finally, it slammed into a baseboard hard enough to knock it out and I saw my opportunity. I took the bath towels and wrapped them around it and set it on the porch, relieved. You would think that would have been the end of it, but no. I noticed that the opossum was bleeding. So, I open the back door just a crack, got on my hands and knees and jostled it, to see if it was still alive. It was -and then some. As I watch it jetting down the back steps, I feel Big Bonnie leaping over me and nosing through the door. The chase was on. The opossum is in the lead, Big Bonnie is in second and I am bringing up the rear. I chase them all over the fairway behind the house (12th or 13th on Melrose – I don’t know as I am not a golfer) and after 15 minutes, finally catch Big Bonnie and start to drag her back to the house. She doesn’t want to come with me so it is a struggle. It is only when I reach midpoint on the fairway that it dawns upon me that it is still light outside and I am wearing a T shirt – just a T shirt. As modestly as I could muster, I drag 190 pounds of dog, barefooted, over pinecones and other prickly things, back to the homestead. If anyone saw me that evening, they were too polite to say. So, that is something for which I am grateful.

Suzanne Swanson: The Half Naked Oklahoman of Captain Monroe Lane

Ray Ferrerra: I am most thankful that I beat the 1,000 to 1 odds of finding and meeting a person (Sarah Booth) I would fall in love with on Daufuskie Island.

Jackie Resinger: I am grateful for all the great friends I made on Daufuskie and also grateful that I can still return to see them.

Arden Small: I am grateful for all the warm, wonderful greetings received when returning to the island after a summer away.

Dick Arnold: I am thankful for the continued health of my sister-in-law who had a stroke three years ago. I am thankful for the fact that we were successfully sold our house in Pennsylvania before last year’s polar vortex hit.

Lynn Wiggins: I am grateful for my hubby and Caspar.

Delaney Roberts: I am thankful for my family, my home and my friends. Only on Daufuskie do you have to take a boat to get groceries.

Carol Humpherys: I am most grateful for my family.

Yvonne Wilson: I am grateful for health, well-being, peace, the kids at school and fellow co-workers. I am thankful for my kids, grandkids and future great grandkids. Only on Daufuskie do we have one church, one school, one museum and one-of-a-kind people who move here and love it like it is theirs.

Sandy Aprendi: Only on Daufuskie can I get a flash news report just going to a tennis clinic – all the gossip and everything that’s going on.

Lorie McNiff: I am grateful for all the love and support of family and friends over the last few years. I love Haig Point and the way everyone has reached out so openly.

Nancy Roberts: I am thankful for my life here, my friends and family.

Tony Simonelli: Only on Daufuskie could I meet the most wonderful people I have ever known in my life.

Susan Kotbe: I am just grateful to have this second new place in our lives to have made such good friends.

Jack Stack: We are thankful for the island of Daufuskie! It is an escape from the busy and chaotic world, plus the more time we spend here, the more nice people we meet, which only wants us to visit more often! Happy Thanksgiving!

Kym Castillo: I am thankful for my students and co-workers. Only on Daufuskie can I enjoy every second of my 90 minute commute.

Jan Crosby: I am most grateful for the love and support of family and friends.

Dick Roberts: I am grateful for the camaraderie, the beautiful landscape and beautiful weather.

Michael Phelps: I am thankful for Daufuskie because there is a lot of trees and not 2000 cars. Only on Daufuskie do you have to take a ferry to get more parts for your vehicle  or buy one.

Mitch Evans: I am thankful for the long-lasting friendships we’ve had over the years we have lived here.

Jan Zembrodt: I am thankful that my kids are all happy….finally!

Bob Kotbe: I am grateful for the Pells, Zembrodts and McNiffs – all the people at this table having dinner with me.

Savanna Smith: I am grateful for getting to see my mom, even if it is little time, having animals that are always on my side, for having great parents who will do anything for me, and for having a GREAT life and being born! Only on Daufuskie can I practice driving a golf cart with a friend in my yard.

Bob Greene: A very good friend asked that I send this message: “The agency had told me it was a wonderful island off the mainland in the Southeast. They said it was the perfect place for someone not to be recognized or be identified, and that the people on the island did not care what you did or who you are. They were so right, it’s a beautiful place where a person can just blend in.

Paula Nickels: I am so very thankful for Bill and Maddie, my extraordinary little family and for so many friends who have become family. I am incredibly fortunate to have the friendship and support of Nancy Ludtke, Kristi Nelson, Eileen Pojednic, Sharon Havird, Milton Deitch and Pat Beichler. They have done and continue to do so much, not just for the Front Porch but for all of Daufuskle.

Carol Thompson: I am thankful for every person I have met on this island. They make me excited to come back each and every time. And because of that we are going to start spending more time here.

Cathy Pell: I am grateful for the lovely unexpected family I have here.

Joe Zembrodt: I am grateful for being here.

Aubrey Lofton: I am thankful for my family.

Kade Lemberge: I am grateful for caring parents, food, a pool in my neighborhood, being born and having a great school with great people in it. On Daufuskie you can bike a lot more than in  Georgia and it is safe.

Jerry Friesen: I am thankful for new medicine.

Larry Pell: Only on Daufuskie can you pee outside and never have to worry about it.

Mark McNiff: I am grateful that my Lorie is still with me.

Kathi De Leo: I am grateful for so many things – family, friends and being able to enjoy life on our wonderful Daufuskie Island. One thing in particular that I am thankful for is the opportunity to volunteer at the Daufuskie Island Elementary School. Over the last five years I have witnessed dedicated teachers encouraging our children to “be the best that they can be.” Most recently, teachers Amy Dungan and Kym Castillo ferry over from Hilton head daily to share their expert teaching skills with the island children. The support staff of Miss Yvonne Wilson and Amanda Lofton are always there with smiling faces and a comforting attitude while performing the myriad of tasks asked of them. Our children are so fortunate to start their formal education in such an excellent, nurturing environment.

Dianne Simonelli: I am thankful for all of us that are members of Bloody Point and Melrose can still be together. We enjoy each other. We stuck it out and we are survivors.

Donovan Furman: I am thankful for my parents. Only on Daufuskie can you play and walk in the roads.

Chrissie Roberts: I am thankful for my children and my husband and am equally grateful that my youngest daughter is now in morning pre-school at Daufuskie Island Elementary.

Amanda Lofton: I am thankful for all the friendship and love I have had in my life. Only on Daufuskie can you enjoy the solitude of being alone without really being by yourself.

Ann Speck: I am grateful for our fire department because we had a grandchild visit who has severe allergies. When we called them, they said not to worry about it, that they would take care of everything. Because of them we were able to relax and enjoy a wonderful visit without worrying.

Judy and Gary Vaccaro: We are very thankful for the Daufuskie experience. The people, the sense of community, and of course, the beauty of our island .

Klaus Birckenstaedt: I am thankful to run my dogs twice a day on this little island paradise!

Bill Nickels: I am most thankful for Paula and Maddie. They are the brightest lights in my life. I am also very grateful to have such wonderful friends here and to enjoy every day on this special island.


  1. Melissa Davis says

    I am thankful for the peace, serenity and beauty of Daufuskie. You have your privacy yet you also feel like part of a big, loving family at the same time. I love how everyone comes together to help each other. Most of all, when leaving from the “other side of the river,”, I love to be able to say, “bye-bye, cruel world! I’m going HOME!”

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