Hilton Head Island’s famous “Welcome Home” sign now has a new purpose.
It was made by lifelong island fisherman and surfer Byron Sewell to welcome islanders back from the Hurricane Matthew evacuation in October.
Then it was used on T-shirts produced by the Salty Dog that raised more than $25,000 for the Deep Well Project, the island’s private social services agency.
Now, someone will win the sign in a drawing to benefit another lifelong islander and surfer, Dante Liska, and his family.
Liska, 50, was recently diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer, followed by surgery showing cancer had spread throughout his body, said friend and next-door neighbor Archer Crose, who is organizing the fundraiser.
The $20 tickets for a chance to win the sign and its licensing rights are available at several local businesses, Crose said. The drawing is to be held during a benefit concert at the Big Bamboo Cafe in Coligny Plaza at 10 p.m. on Dec. 30, featuring Doug Pritchett of New Potato Caboose with Bland Kiser of Hilton Head.
“This is locals banding together just trying to help out a friend,” said Crose. “The sign initially lifted everyone’s spirits when they got home after the hurricane, and this takes that one step further. We want to lift up a friend.”
Sewell said, “Dante Liska is one of those classic Hilton Head smiling faces. He is such a kind person. I’m really happy we could do this.”
The Liska family moved to Hilton Head in 1981 and his father, Jack, owns Father Dante’s Deli on Palmetto Bay Road. Liska earned degrees from the University of South Carolina and the Savannah College of Art and Design. For many years, he owned a water-skiing and wake-boarding business operating out of Harbour Town. He created and ran boat tours out of Harbour Town concentrating on history and the environment. He is an avid surfer and boat captain, often called “Captain Dante.” He also worked in a number of island restaurants. He is a volunteer with the lacrosse program at Hilton Head Island High School.
Liska has two sons, ages 16 and 14, and a fiancee, Tracy Brande.
A “Go Fund Me” page set up to help the family raised $24,000 in 10 days.
Crose said prize-drawing tickets are available at Beach Break Grill, Crane’s Tavern, Fat Baby’s Pizza & Subs, Jump and Phil’s Bar and Grill, and Fuel Clothing. Crose may be contacted at email@example.com.