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Media Release

Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett Recognizes Local Residents with Honored Islanders Award

Release Date: October 22, 2018

Contact Information:
Carolyn Grant email icon , Communications Director, 843-341-4618


Hilton Head Island Mayor David Bennett recognized six residents at his Honored Islanders Award dinner on Monday, October 22, at Hudson's Seafood House on the Docks. Hosted by Brian Carmines of Hudson's, the dinner followed public recognition these citizens received at Hilton Head Island Town Council meetings in July and October.

The Honored Islanders include Jamie Berndt, Karen Kindermann, Alfred Olivetti, Claudia Kennedy, Susan Roberts and Michael Znachko.

Jamie Berndt, who is a board member of the Mitchelville Preservation Project, was recognized for the array of volunteer tasks she performs to help safeguard and share the story of Mitchelville. With her financial support and enthusiasm, Jamie has helped preserve Island history so it is available to countless generations. Jamie exhibits boundless energy and passion for social justice and equality for all individuals. She also was lauded for courageously speaking out on tolerance, equality, compassion and community.

Karen Kindermann started the Turtle Trackers program in Sea Pines three years ago. Her work brought her recognition for coordinating volunteers to educate beach visitors and oceanfront homeowners about ways they can help protect baby sea turtles. Under Karen's leadership, the volunteers fill in holes along the beach, flatten sand castles and pick up trash, all in an effort to make sure young turtles find their way from nest to sea without any obstructions. She and her volunteers created a fund at the Community Foundation of the Lowcountry and actively raise funds to educate the public about sea turtles.

Alfred Olivetti contributes time and talent to area youth and to fundraising events benefiting other communities. As a local business owner of Go Tri Sports, Al created Go Tri Gives, a non-profit organization that raises funds to help local high school athletes participate in sports camps and other events.  He leads fundraising efforts to help those in need. His organization donates 100% of the monies raised to such events as Hope for Haiti, a 5k run to raise money for the victims of natural disasters in Haiti, and The Holy City 5K, a run to raise money for the families of the Mother Emanuel Church massacre in Charleston.

Claudia Kennedy, the first woman to reach the rank of a three-star general in the United States Army, has been involved with many projects and organizations around the island including the Hilton Head Island American Legion Post 42, the Mitchelville Preservation Project, the Hilton Head Island World Affairs Council and fundraising for the restoration of Gullah cemeteries. In the midst of all this, Claudia cofounded All About Cats, a program that cares for homeless cats and helps control the wild cat population on Hilton Head Island. Affectionately known as the "Cat Lady," Claudia has helped 36 cats in colonies.

As a volunteer with the Boys & Girls Club of Hilton Head Island, Susan Roberts embraces its mission to help those children who need club programs the most. She jumps in to help with whatever tasks need to be completed, whether it be helping other volunteers, supporting development efforts or grant writing. Susan also helped create a video about the Mitchelville Preservation project. She is an active member of the South Carolina Lowcountry Group of the Junior League and the St. Andrew-by-the-Sea United Methodist Church, where she has held numerous leadership roles.

Michael Znachko works through the Hope Prison Ministry to facilitate 12 step program meetings for recovery rehabilitation each week at the Allendale Correctional Institution in Fairfax, South Carolina, and each quarter in Belize. Michael’s involvement with the prison ministry stems from a visit he and a friend made to a prison in Belize many years ago. There he learned about prison population crimes and residual incarceration rates. The visit inspired him to help prisoners improve their lives. Since then, he has volunteered with the prison ministry to bring hope and healing to many prisoners.

About the Mayor’s Honored Islanders Program

The Mayor's Honored Islanders Program recognizes Hilton Head Island residents who make a significant sacrifice of their time, talents and/or resources to better the community without compensation or significant public or media attention. A committee of Hilton Head Island citizens considers nominations and selects individuals to be honored. For more information on nominating Islanders for the award, visit www.hiltonheadislandsc.gov .