Hilton Head’s new rec cen­ter build­ing gets name

The Beaufort Gazette - - Front Page - BY DAVID LAUD­ERDALE dlaud­[email protected]­land­packet.com

Why did they name the new $13 mil­lion ex­pan­sion at the Hilton Head Is­land Recre­ation Cen­ter the Carmines Build­ing?

And what does it have to do with Wide­spread Panic, Nep­tune Plat­ters, Grandma Moses, Mount Ranier, Shep Rose and a dead lobster?

A bet­ter ques­tion is what does it have to with life and death, and one 20-some­thing’s power over the sting of death.

The name Carmines be­longs to Brian and Glo- ria Carmines, who came to Hilton Head Is­land as a dar­ing young cou­ple in 1975 when they bought Hud­son’s Seafood House on the Docks from Hilton Head leg­end Benny Hud­son.

Benny started sell­ing the likes of to­day’s Nep­tune Plat­ter when he fig­ured that the new birds in town called tourists could turn more bucks than the salty oys­ters be­ing chis­eled from ra­zor sharp shells in his oys­ter house that lit­er­ally slanted into Skull Creek. So he turned it into a restau­rant.

Carmines is An­drew Carmines, who runs the fam­ily busi­ness to­day.

And Carmines is David M. Carmines, An­drew’s older brother by 20 months, who died of can­cer at a mere 24. The fam­ily cre­ated the David M. Carmines Foun­da­tion, which raises money pri­mar­ily through the week­long Hilton Head Is­land Seafood Fes­ti­val.

When An­drew’s friend from child­hood, re­al­ity TV star Shep Rose, comes down from Charleston to the fes­ti­val, the crowd gets big and so do the bucks.

Rec Cen­ter di­rec­tor Frank Soule said a bunch of those bucks got the pri­vate cap­i­tal cam­paign started for the ex­panded Rec Cen­ter. It opened Mon­day, thanks to $13 mil­lion in town money, after two years and two days of con­struc­tion and 13 years of plan­ning and ha­rangu­ing.

But Brian Carmines was fight­ing, some­times al­most lit­er­ally, for parks and fields and ten­nis courts be­fore there were parks on Hilton Head, and be­fore there was a Rec Cen­ter.

To raise money for a Rec Cen­ter fore­run­ner, the Is­land Youth Cen­ter, Brian Carmines once had a spe­cial gi­ant lobster in a tank at his restau­rant and vis­i­tors would pay to guess its weight.

His part­ner in this crime of pub­lic recre­ation, Charles Perry, loves to roar in laugh­ter about the day late that sum­mer when Brian called him in a panic, say­ing “the damn lobster died.”

We have a Rec Cen­ter be­cause the Ro­tary Club and peo­ple like Carmines and Perry and Col. Bob


Sel­ton and Gen. Howard Davis in­sisted that Hilton Head was not a re­sort but a com­mu­nity, and this is how to act like it and be like it for peo­ple of all ages and col­ors and sta­tions in life.

That’s the way is­land na­tive Mor­ris Camp­bell de­scribed it as he and his wife, Ida, got in some ex­er­cise Thurs­day at the Rec Cen­ter.

And now the lit­tle-town­that-could has a palace for all that recre­at­ing and com­mis­er­at­ing, and it’s im­por­tant that we named it for the Carmines fam­ily.


I was there on the spring day in 2001 when al­most 1,000 peo­ple filled First Pres­by­te­rian Church for David M. Carmines’ me­mo­rial ser­vice.

Row after row of stunned-look­ing young peo­ple wore sim­ple black dresses, pumped up thong shoes and sun­glasses. They should be at wed­dings, I thought, not fu­ner­als.

But it was the spirit of David M. Carmines that they came to honor, and that best tells the value of our new recre­ation palace.

David Carmines was a strik­ing, hand­some boy who loved to fish and hunt, much like his dad, and planned to grow up to prac­tice en­vi­ron­men­tal law.

He bat­tled an ag­gres­sive can­cer for 27 months, liv­ing much longer than they said he would. Dur­ing that time, he fin­ished his de­gree at Se­wa­nee, and con­tin­ued his pas­sion for moun­tain climb­ing, ski­ing and kayak­ing. He had reached the sum­mit of Mount Rainier and all the Grand Te­tons.

Brian and Glo­ria and An­drew cir­cled the wag­ons to fight for life, and ap­pre­ci­ate life.

Glo­ria and An­drew spent long stints with David in his Hous­ton apart­ment, where he lived while be­ing treated at the M.D. An­der­son Can­cer Clinic. They spent the sum­mer to­gether in Wyoming.

Glo­ria, the el­e­gant kinder­garten teacher, even went with David to a Wide­spread Panic con­cert.

David loved Wide­spread Panic, which led to an his­toric mo­ment when the words “Wide­spread Panic boot­leg” were ut­tered from the pul­pit at First Pres­by­te­rian Church, from one of those hand­some young boys in black who mourned a friend so full of life.

Through the months, David e-mailed up­dates on his health to a grow­ing list of friends and sup­port­ers. The notes were all up­beat, even when he de­scribed the so-called pos­i­tive side of a can­cer­ous tu­mor be­ing re­moved from his cere­bel­lum.

One time he quoted Grandma Moses as say­ing, “Life is what we make it. Al­ways has been. Al­ways will be.”

All the mes­sages ended the same. He al­ways said, “Keep the faith.”

And in truth, that’s why we have a new recre­ation cen­ter named the Carmines Build­ing.

DAVID LAUD­ERDALE dlaud­[email protected]­land­packet.com

The Carmines Build­ing, a $13 mil­lion ex­pan­sion of the Hilton Head Is­land Recre­ation Cen­ter, opened Mon­day at 20 Wil­born Road be­side Hilton Head Is­land High School.


Brothers David, left, and An­drew Carmines in Novem­ber 2000, about three months be­fore David died, at Ed and Tr­ish Hughes’ oys­ter roast in Sea Pines For­est Pre­serve.

DAVID LAUD­ERDALE dlaud­[email protected]­land­packet.com

Pri­vate donors who helped raise $1.5 mil­lion for the new Is­land Recre­ation Cen­ter build­ing through the Peo­ple For Parks or­ga­ni­za­tion are listed on a wall be­tween floors in the Carmines Build­ing.

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