A group of islanders says it's time to mark Hilton Head Island's coming of age by paying homage to those who helped shape the town into the mature community it has become.
The Rotary Club of Hilton Head, under president Mike Jukofsky, has launched a Hilton Head Island Hall of Fame. Inaugural honorees will be announced Nov. 1 and enshrined in an exhibit at the Coastal Discovery Museum at Honey Horn.
"It is a sign of maturity that a community looks to its past to honor those who gave of themselves to make it a better place to live for all," said Hall of Fame chairman Hank Noble. "Rotary proudly takes on this responsibility in keeping with its motto: service above self."
Residents have until Sept. 28 to submit nominations. Nominees, either living or deceased, must have lived within the last century and "have had a positive, direct pioneering impact on Hilton Head Island and its residents," Noble said.
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An anonymous group of longtime, non-Rotarian residents has been selected to choose the first class of honorees. Future nominations and awards will be made yearly, Noble said.
"I think it's high time that the island begin to recognize those that have played such an important role here," Michael Marks, president and CEO of the Coastal Discovery Museum, said. "I'm curious to see the response we get. The jury pool has their work cut out for them."
Bronze plaques for each of the 2012 honorees will initially go in the museum's Discovery House, but will eventually be placed on a tabby wall to be built at Honey Horn, Marks said.
"It has to do with recognizing where you are didn't just happen by magic, but because a handful of people invested their time, energy, intellect and blood, sweat and tears creating it," Noble said. "And hopefully, this will inspire the next great resident to step up and do something remarkable."