30 Jun 2015

Heroes On Nantucket

Photo by Charlotte Carey Photography
In her 1993 inspirational ballad, “Hero,” Mariah Carey gives us reason to pause and consider that sometimes “a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on and you cast your fears aside and you know you can survive.” With our country’s Independence Day upon us, it’s always a good time to be reminded how many of our men and women in uniform have given their lives for us and pay tribute to the thousands of others who are still heroically putting their lives on the line on a daily basis to defend our freedom.

As we consider the enormous sacrifice made for our nation, our children and our future, we wrestle with how to best convey our gratitude. For many of us, it is close to home. We have family members, neighbors or friends children on the battlefield. For others, the connection may not be as personal, but it’s no less meaningful and the sentiment is the same – we are humbled and grateful for our armed forces. Sometimes, we are given opportunities to express our appreciation – through gifts, cards or a sincere “thank you for your service” as we randomly meet one of the service men or women on the street. Other times, opportunities present themselves to do something more.

This past spring a local Nantucket organization called Holidays for Heroes helped facilitate a dream come true for war vet U.S. Marine Cpl. Timothy Donley and his fiancé Kelly Fidler when they organized a team of local “heroes” to throw them the wedding of their dreams. When local Holidays for Heroes founder, Tom McCann met Cpl. Donley (who lost both his legs in Afghanistan) last fall and learned the only thing postponing the nuptials was the funds to pay for it, he sprung into action and rallied multiple Nantucket people and organizations to help gift the young couple a Nantucket seaside wedding for the memory books.

Nantucket pulled out all the stops for the special couple as many of the islands wedding pros were enlisted to put together the dream day. Cisco Brewery, Maureen Maher of Nantucket Island Events, Flowers on Chestnut, Darya Salon and Spa for the bride’s hair, a private home in Shimmo for the reception and a private home in Naples, Florida, for the honeymoon. Not to mention a 50 person filet mignon reception dinner hosted by The SeaGrille. The gift was a fitting tribute to Robin Harvey, one of the SeaGrille owners, who lost her life in an accident this past winter and had been a big supporter of Holidays for Heroes and multiple island causes to benefit others.

Maya Angelou once said, “I think a hero is any person really intent on making this a better place for all people.” As we pause this week to celebrate our nation’s freedom and the many heroes who make it possible, may we also be considering ways (big and small) that we can express our gratitude and make life better for our vets and for all people. To those who serve, we humbly say…

Thank you.

Shellie Dunlap
Shellie Dunlap

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