GALLERY: We Will Endure – A Charleston Sunrise To Remind Us

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By Mark A. Leon

Even in tragedy, the timeliness and absolute stunning nature of a Charleston sunrise continues to remind us of our strength as a community. Its beauty, diverse colors and artistic impression in the sky is sometimes all we need to know things will be okay.

This morning once again served as nature’s way of saying, we have your back. Look to the sky and you know you are being protected with warmth and security.

Mornings are a sign of new beginnings, a fresh start.
They keep us balanced and put life in perspective.

Thank you Charleston for another light show and for continuously reminding us of the love all around.














Keep spreading the love of nature an one another.



In the Small Town of Charleston, SC – A City’s Response To The Tragic Events of August 24th

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By Mark A. Leon

Yesterday, a horrific event happened on King Street.? A beloved employee, friend, husband and father was killed in a shameless act.? Once again, the city of Charleston is in mourning, but that isn’t the message I have taken away from the last 30 hours.

Shane Whiddon was a respected member of the Charleston community, a dedicated father, husband, hard-working chef and a man who loved to smile.? Today, he is gone, but long from forgotten. Restaurants, hospitality groups, small businesses and citizens have once again come together to show their support to the family of Shane, Virginia’s on King and the Bennett Hospitality family.

On the outside looking in, Charleston looks like a mid-sized Southern city outgrowing its pants.? Tourism has grown year over year, construction is a constant part of our lives and the world has recognized us for our history, beauty, shopping, festivals and culinary arts.

That isn’t the Charleston I see today.

I see a small community that Springsteen or Mellencamp wrote about 30 years ago.? It’s setting is reminiscent of Yo La Tengo emotional ode in ‘My Little Corner of the World”. Charleston doesn’t have a Main Street with one water tower, one dentist, one doctor, one gas station, one restaurant and a single street light, but what it does have is a bond in its people as strong as blood.

It is a place where we tip our hats to you, greet you with a smile and make you feel at home.

I can still taste the homemade asparagus corn bread and salmon omelet while sitting upstairs at Virginia’s on King.? The fans going as the heat intensified outside, classic historic art, white linens and the feel of being in the world of ‘Gone with the Wind” in my head.

Virginia’s has always held a special place in my heart.? One of my first dining experiences.? Humbling and traditional and rich in Southern flavor and values.

Today, this small town once again comes together with words of hope, feelings of sadness and an air of faith.

If you are downtown, look all around.? Look closely.? See the signs, look at the faces and know we all share in the sadness of a family that just lost a loved one.
When a loss like this strikes so deep and pierces the soul, it must be a small town, because only there can you overcome and rise the way a strong family does.

The next time you make your way to Upper King Street, go to Virginia’s and give the staff a hug.? They will appreciate it more than you know, because family sticks together.

Go Fund Me – Family of Shane Whiddon

Official Statement from Holy City Hospitality on the death of Shane Whiddon and yesterday’s events

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“We are deeply saddened and heartbroken by what transpired yesterday at our restaurant Virginia’s on King. We are devastated by the passing of Shane Whiddon, our beloved and well-respected chef and friend. Our thoughts and prayers from Holy City Hospitality and Bennett Hospitality are with Shane’s family, our work family, and the customers and employees who are affected by this awful tragedy. We’re extremely grateful for the incredible teamwork of the many law enforcement agencies and the Mayor of Charleston in handling yesterday’s events.?We?would also like to thank the Pastor and staff at St. Matthew’s Lutheran Church for all the support they provided law enforcement and our staff.?The outpouring of support from the community has been?remarkable?and for that we are very grateful.”
–?Managing Director of Holy City Hospitality?Marty?Wall