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Vince Mayfield's November FWB Chamber Letter

It has been a rough year, but we have a lot to be thankful for.

As a kid growing up, there are three shows that, as an adult, I look forward to every year. It starts with the Great Pumpkin, then on to Thanksgiving with Friends, and ends with Harking the Herald, the coming of Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, and the true meaning of Christmas. I can hear the melodic tunes of the Vince Guaraldi Trio, as the Peanuts Gang brings the year to a close while reminding us of the meaning of the holidays. If you haven’t guessed by now, I am talking about It’s The Great Pumpkin, Charlie BrownA Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, and A Charlie Brown Christmas.
This year has been challenging for many people. Negativity has seemed to rule the day with the election, a pandemic, and people disagreeing. As I write this article, it is Oct 12, and it is three weeks before the election. I pray that when you are reading this in November, we have been blessed with a favorable outcome for the School Cents Makes Sense Campaign.

Recently, your 2021 Chair, Heather Ruiz, and I were talking. We, along with other good people, have been at the forefront of the battle in the School Cents Makes Sense Campaign. Our only goal is to support our schools and our community. We want them adequately funded to ensure they are a secure, healthy, and safe learning environment for our community’s children. I use the word battle because the negativity and vitriol we have experienced for what should be a uniting cause for our community were taking a toll on our psyche. Then Heather said: “Remember, that there is good out there; we just need to embrace those positive stories of people doing great things for others in our area.” She is right!

There are plenty of positive things to be thankful for in November, and we should rejoice and revel in them! There have been and continue to be many people doing great things for others. There are great things happening all over our community. Leading the charge is our Chamber and our chamber membership, making a positive impact in our community.

Life is precious, and we have had some close calls this year with members of our community. But positive acts of good have made an impact on individual lives. These examples come to the top of my mind:

  • Right before the beginning of 2020, Kim Denman, a member of our Chamber and board member, suffered an aneurysm. Our Chamber and people in the community rallied and helped with family meals, prayers, and donations for her recovery. - Good in Action
  • Many of you know Kathy Houchins, a member of our board needs a kidney. She had a donor, then lost that donor in a tragedy. But in a God Wink, his mercy and grace brought her another donor. Our community has rallied behind her by doing a telethon and securing donations to help cover the cost. - Good in Action
  • Ron Grissom, a long-time member of our community, had a stroke. Again, our community rallied behind Ron to support him and his wife, Pamela. - Good in Action

I reviewed all the Coastlines over the past ten months, and I found a list of positive things making a difference in Okaloosa County. Here are a few:

  • One Hopeful Place Received a 500K Grant to Service The Homeless in Okaloosa County

  • Cox Charities Awarded 20K to Gulf Coast Non-Profits

  • Emerald Coast Harley Davidson was Recognized Nationally by Harley Davidson with a Silver Bar & Shield Circle of Recognition

  • Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Received a Unit of Distinction Award and an Eisenberg Patient Safety & Quality Award

  • Beach Community Bank Launched “Beach Cares” to Assist Businesses and Individuals Financially During COVID-19

  • Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast Named Jacinda Rassa The 2020 Boys & Girls Clubs Youth of the Year

  • The United Way of the Emerald Coast provided 70K in Relief for 15 Local Non-Profits for COVID-19

  • White Wilson Community Foundation Provided Emergency COVID-19 Grants to Non-Profits

  • Big Brothers Big Sisters recognized Big Brother Marcus Dillard from Okaloosa County with the 2020 Michael Robidoux Hero Award

  • MAG Aerospace Announced as Finalist for the 2020 Florida Sterling Manufacturing Business Excellence Awards

  • The Okaloosa Economic Development Council Unveiled Startup Okaloosa Virtual Incubator to Assist Local Entrepreneurs

  • The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce, Hughes Consulting, Warren Averett CPAs, and Okaloosa County to Provide Videos on PPP, SBA Loans, and Florida Disaster Relief Loans to Area Businesses

  • The Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce Launched the Spend Lokaloosa Campaign

  • The City of FWB provides Small Business Grants to Businesses effected by COVID-19

  • Okaloosa County provided Small Business Grants to Businesses effected by COVID-19

There were countless other examples of good news happening in our community. We have much to be thankful for in 2020. When you go to the Thanksgiving table this year, please don’t be Peppermint Patty and let all the things wrong cloud your view.

Think positive, inventory the good, and be like Snoopy, Woodstock, Charlie Brown, and the whole Peanuts Gang. It reminds me of a great quote: “Instead of worrying about what people say of you, why not spend time trying to accomplish something they will admire.” - Dale Carnegie

We have accomplished so much this year and have done so much good for our community. Our Chamber and All of You have my admiration! Let’s Finish the Year out Strong, and look back and count our blessings and accomplishments this year together.

Read this article in the November FWB Chamber Coastlines Newspaper


Vincent W. Mayfield, Chief Executive Officer
Vincent W. Mayfield