I am eternally optimistic about Destin, despite what some may say, because I see the beauty within the hearts and spirit of the people of this town. It is that spirit that provides me comfort when I think of Destin’s future.
You see, Destin is not just a geographical location or the buildings that exist within its jurisdiction. To me, the essence of this city lies within the people who live here.
The people who strive to give back to others. They don’t ask “What’s in it for me?” They simply do what is best for our community.
Every fall season we see this spirit through a number of community volunteer projects and events.
The Destin Fishing Rodeo comes to life on our docks each year through the dedication of nearly 115 volunteers working thousands of hours. Helen Donaldson and the Rodeo’s board of directors do a tremendous job of keeping 64 years of heritage alive.
I was given the opportunity to judge, as well as give a proclamation for Miss Destin at the Rodeo docks this year and see the smiles on the many faces that this event draws. It is those very smiles that make all the countless hours worth it.
Kicking off the Rodeo this year, we had an absolutely outstanding Destin Seafood Festival along the new Harbor Boardwalk. It was estimated that more than 70,000 people attended this event over the course of three days.
This is the highest number of attendees in recorded history, and to think this year’s festival almost didn’t happen! Knowing the festival was in danger, Capt. Mike and Kathy Eller, as well as the Destin Charter Boat Association, stepped in to organize this event along with hundreds of volunteers. They put in countless hours to make the “festival that almost wasn’t” a huge success.
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is another volunteer organization dedicated to making Destin a better place. I am constantly amazed at how these volunteers bring us so many year-round events, including the always well-received Destin Festival of the Arts.
This fall event brings in visitors and participants from around the United States, and it couldn’t happen without the passionate volunteers who have Destin’s best interest at heart.
As mayor, I have the distinct pleasure of working closely with our volunteers. I recently had the honor of presenting the Destin Senior Citizen of the Year Award to
Mr. Bernie Collie for his time and volunteer commitment to the city of Destin.
Today, I received an email from Mrs. Bettinger, a teacher at Destin Middle School, whose Interact Club made up of 40 students wanted to volunteer in the city’s Pinfish Classic and the Destin Christmas Parade. It is that spirit of cooperation that makes Destin a truly special community.
These are only a few of the many examples of what makes this an exceptional community. Our city is truly fortunate to be comprised of so many caring individuals.
People who will give their time to the community to make it a better place, both now and in the future. These people, these volunteers with big hearts, make me so proud to call Destin my home.
It is the people of Destin who make up our city, a city that we can all take great pride in.
Sarah “Sam” Seevers is mayor of Destin.