Transplant Times

We’re in Florida, but our hearts are in Fort Mill

CorrespondentMay 27, 2014 

Occasionally, we enjoy a reprieve from our busy lives, and when we do we like to come to the “Land of Sunshine.” So as we write to our friends in the Fort Mill community this month, we do so from Florida.

Not only is Florida a beautiful state, but most of our family lives here, and we make time to visit whenever we can.

For many, visiting Florida is definitely a time of vacationing. The sunshine, great seafood and beautiful beaches combine to make it an outstanding choice for vacationers.

And while it might be a time of rest and relaxation for many, for Cherie and I, it also involves time catching up with family. That means that we sometimes feel as if we are in a tug-of-war between all the family and friends that want us to spend time with them when we are here.

Quite interestingly, it was my father-in-law’s idea that I even apply for the position of writing this newcomer’s column for the Fort Mill Times. While visiting us from Florida, he picked up the paper, saw the recruitment ad and suggested that I apply for the position. The rest is history, as they say!

In looking back at the many fascinating people Cherie and I have met, the wonderful conversations we’ve had and the people that have welcomed us into their lives, I can honestly say that this is one of the best decisions I have ever made. Cherie and I have discovered that Fort Mill is an oasis of rich relationships and strong community. It is a resilient community that has experienced challenges and overcome those challenges through strong visionary leadership and perseverance.

It was fascinating to look back in history and to discover the role that the Catawba Indians played in the Civil War. I was also greatly impressed by the power of Chief Bill Harris’ vision to advance his tribe by challenging them to take advantage of any opportunity to further their education.

It was a privilege to spend time with Mayor Danny Funderburk and learn about some of the events that are shaping the community. He communicated a strong desire to carry on the vision of the Fort Mill founding fathers to maintain a community established on integrity and godly principles.

The Strawberry Festival is, of course, the big event of the year. We enjoyed gathering with many of our newfound friends at this event this year, and we look forward to it again next year.

Hopefully we can make time to volunteer and really get into the festivities next time around. This year, we just enjoyed the events, the food and beverages, and of course deepening our relationships with new friends.

One of Cherie’s and my favorite places has been the Anne Springs Close Greenway. This place has been like a spiritual retreat center for us. We love to go there when we have time and let our dogs get out and enjoy the beautiful green fields. We always return home feeling refreshed and rested.

So while we are here visiting family and friends in sunny Florida, rest assured that our hearts are home in Fort Mill. We look forward to returning and continuing our journey as newcomers in this town that carries the heartbeat of the nation within it. We value your continual feedback and the conversations that have emerged in response to some of our reporting.

So for now we’ll slather on the sunblock and dig our toes in the sand, all the while looking forward to the time when we return to our comfortable routine back in Fort Mill.

Please remember, if you would like us to visit your organization, business, school or helping agency, contact us and we will do our best to visit and feature you in this monthly column.

Until next time.

William Winship and his wife, Cherie, can be reached at

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