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The real reason Shep Rose came home to Hilton Head this weekend

There’s a reason some friendships are called life-long.

Shep Rose is returning home Friday to support a charity near to his heart and a friend who never left his side.

The “Southern Charm” star and Hilton Head Island native announced on his Instagram (cleverly named Relationshep) Wednesday night that he would be in town Friday for the Pig Pickin’ & Oyster Roast at the Waddell Mariculture Center. The event sold out.

Rose was there to support his childhood best friend, Andrew Carmines, who is hosting the Hilton Head Island Seafood Festival on behalf of the David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation, an organization founded in memory of his brother who succumbed to cancer in 2001.

“David was my sister’s age, and I like to say we got lucky because we all got along and hung out every day, back in the days where kids would ride their bikes everywhere and actually played outside,” Rose said. “David was great. He was two years older than Andrew and I and always looked out for us. He loved the outdoors before it was a thing.”

Rose said that when the cancer started to progress, David “squeezed every bit of life he had left.”

So it was fitting for the Carmines to start a foundation in his name in 2003 to honor his memory and help raise money for local organizations and cancer research. The event that started as a small, one-day affair is now a week-long culinary, tourism, and cultural event that Andrew Carmines hopes will raise $100,000 this year.

“Every time a tragedy like this happens, you ask how you can preserve the memory,” Rose said. “This (seafood festival) has really turned into something cool. I know he would be proud. I’m so proud of Andrew and the family for what they’ve turned this event into.”

‘Without hesitation’

Rose said he normally doesn’t announce events he’s attending on social media. He has more than 300,000 followers on Twitter and Instagram). But this is an event is one he “wants to promote without hesitation.”

“I’m all about promoting for friends and Andrew knows me better than anyone knows me, so of course I’m going to support him in anyway I can,” he said. “I have a platform and all these followers and it is amazing. It’s no skin off my back to help promote something for a friend. I’m super happy to take a picture with someone. I’m happy to do that always.”

Shared memories, shared lives

Andrew and Shep have been best friends as long as their memories go back.

“We’ve been best friends through elementary school, high school, through college when he was at Georgia and I was at Ole Miss and we’d visit each other for football weekends,” Carmines said.

“Now he’s a big reality star and I have three kids,” Carmines said with a laugh, “so he comes home and tells me these crazy stories and I live vicariously through him.”

But none of that affects their friendship.

Carmines’ business — Hudson’s Seafood on the Docks — continues to grow. Rose’s reality TV start continues to rise.

But in many ways, they’re still the same two kids riding their bikes together on Hilton Head.

“Andrew wouldn’t let me change if I wanted to,” Rose joked.

“Honestly, Andrew is always in my head when I’m on TV,” Rose said. “ I always think, ‘Will Andrew make fun of me for this,” Rose said with a laugh. “Like one time, the [Southern Charm] producers tried to make me leave a restaurant in a horse-drawn carriage and I was like ‘Over my dead body! Andrew would never let that one go!”

Rose said that he and Andrew “still finish each other’s sentences.”

“Our conversations could probably be transcribed as the same as when we were 15. Well maybe not him. He has matured,” Rose said. “Honestly, I’m so proud of who he’s become. He has an awesome family and he’s turned Hudson’s into an institution and (there’s)everything he’s been doing with his brother’s foundation. It’s just amazing.”

The money raised for the The David M. Carmines Memorial Foundation will go toward other non-profit organizations including the Coastal Discovery Museum, the Island Recreation Scholarship Fund, the Port Royal Sound Foundation, the Gullah Heritage Museum and Medical University of South Carolina i n Charleston.

“We like to keep it local because we believe our money goes further and means more when we donate to charities and organizations in the area,” Carmines said.

Mandy Matney: 843-706-8147, @MandyMatney

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