Sole Survivor Winners Were Wined and Dined

Sole Survivor Winners Were Wined and Dined

As a testament to the Dowd’s healthy mind-healthy body initiatives, the Sundance co-founders recently received the Greater Wilkes-Barre Chamber of Commerce’s 2014 Healthy Workplace Award for their on-going efforts to promote better health with their employees.

In conjunction with this year’s healthy workplace endeavor, the Sole Survivor contest, Sundance Vacations selected a number of teams to take part in an all-expense paid trip to Hilton Head, South Carolina as a reward for their hard work towards striving for a healthy lifestyle throughout the year.

Those taking part in the Hilton Head extravaganza included the overall winners, Rosie Yanko and Jerry Kishbaugh of the Wilkes-Barre day shift marketing office.  The “odd couple” that comprised the team “Marathon,” easily outdistanced their nearest rivals by more than one million steps. Finishing second was the team of Patricia Martin and Melissa Yeager of the Hazleton day shift marketing office. Third place went to Amanda Heffelfinger and Laura Bailey of Tamaqua’s day shift marketing office.

Three teams were selected randomly from the top 50 percent, as defined by the number of steps that were logged. They include two teams from the Downers Grove, Illinois sales office: Tatiana Indica and Patty Kieler, fifth place, and Duane Curtis and Stacy Snively, 22nd place. The third random team selection was comprised of Shawn Jetton and April S. of Wilkes-Barre’s IT department, 11th place overall.

The President’s Choice award went to Teresa Blakely and Becky Finkel of the Shamokin day shift marketing office, who finished eighth overall in the “Sole Survivor” contest.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, three of the winners could not make the trip to Hilton Head including Becky Finkel, Laura Bailey and April S. This opened the door for another team, April Blendick and Monica Gensel of the Hazleton day shift marketing office, to make the Hilton Head excursion.

Also taking part were Sundance Vacations’ Vice President of Business Development, Candy Bednar, and Executive Assistant Jackie Quigley, both work out of the Sundance Vacations Wilkes-Barre corporate office.  The two proved to be friendly and generous hosts for the family of Sundance travelers.

To say the select group of Sundance employees were wined and dined is putting it mildly. On Saturday, November 8, the teams were flown to the Savannah, Georgia, airport from different departure locations. From there, Shawn Jetton and Jerry Kishbaugh were enlisted as van drivers to transport the group to Hilton Head. Along the way, the group was treated to lunch by Bednar and Quigley.

Upon arrival at the Hilton Head Island Beach and Tennis Resort, the Sundancers had a few hours to unwind before heading out to Ela’s Blu Water Grille for dinner. Don’t let the word grille fool you, this restaurant lives up to its mantra of “Seafood, Steak and Style.”  The stylish restaurant puts the “Ela” in “ela-gant” (with apologies to the King’s English). Everything from the appetizers to the entrees to the wine selections were top shelf. It was easy to see why Ela’s was voted the best water view dining at its Shelter Cove Harbor location on Hilton Head Island.

The extravagance was heightened further for the Sundance group thanks to the private room that overlooked the harbor on the top level of the establishment.

The fun and, more specifically, the joviality didn’t stop there.  The Sundance Sole Survivor winners fittingly walked to the next destination – the Comedy Magic Cabaret. Though the show started a bit slowly, the comedian/magician was able to masterfully build the show to a great crescendo.

He accomplished this by enlisting the help of unsuspecting audience members who he called up on stage. Fortunately or unfortunately, depending upon how you look at it, two of the Sundance employees got the chance to have their 15 minutes of comedic fame. First up was Duane Curtis, who received an interesting transformation at the hands of the magician as he became a bathroom commode with all the fixings. Somehow he even wound up with a plunger on his head, which never was seen until Mr. Magic pulled off the wizard’s hat that was concealing it on top of Curtis’ head.

Shawn Jetton also got into the act and had the chance to show off his dart-throwing prowess (on his throw he missed a large, magnetic dart board that featured a map of the United States). The magic trick was too complicated to go into detail about, but Jetton managed to regain his shooting eye and hit the target on the remainder of his throws.

Food, fun and fantasy [magic] best describes the first day spent at Hilton Head, but the adventure didn’t stop there.

The next day, Sunday, Nov. 9, was power-packed with things to do, starting with a continental breakfast at 8 a.m. However, the breakfast was quickly walked off on a two-mile, one and one-half hour walk (it may have been longer as the group had to wait because Rosie the Runner strayed off on one of her runs). The walk was conducted by Water Dog Tours and it took place on Pinckney Island, a national wildlife refuge.

The tour guide proved to be very informative, as well as interesting when discussing the history of Pinckney Island and its habitats that support a diversity of wildlife species. Nearly 67 percent of the refuge consists of salt marsh and tidal creeks, however a wide variety of land types, including forests, grasslands and freshwater ponds can also be found on the island.

Of course, after the tour, it was time for lunch. The group was wined and dined so much that the adventure could be likened to being on a cruise, the only difference being that it was on land.

After lunch, it was Segway time. That’s right, the brave souls from Sundance actually mounted Segways and went on a 90-minute, land-based cruise on the island. Though commandeering the Segways proved to be a great deal of fun, it also led to the only downside of the Hilton Head stay. In a sad turn of events, Patricia Martin lost control of her Segway while being trained and wound up breaking her shoulder. Being the trooper that she is, she didn’t complain and spent the rest of the trip in her room. Quigley and Bednar made sure that she was well taken care of while recuperating before the flight home.

That night, because time was of the essence, the group dined at the resort’s on-site restaurant, Coconutz, a sports bar which was fitting since the Sunday night football game was on and pitted Green Bay against Chicago. The outcome didn’t please Bears’ fans Curtis and Snively as the Packers manhandled Chicago.

The last day in Low Country also was a non-stop blitz featuring, you guessed it, food. It all was part of the Savor the Low Country tasting tour, conducted by exceptional hosts, Alice and Kelsey. First stop was Bambora’s Grille, where the group sampled micro-brews, as well as the eatery’s award-winning, pulled pork sliders.

It seemed to be an endless eating binge as the Sundance steppers sampled sweet treats at the Hilton Head Candy Company, followed by a stop at Chow Daddy’s, where the bill of fare featured tasty tilapia tacos was downed by tequila.

Before the last stop at the Flatbread Grill where the group sampled various flatbread pizzas and wines, it was another sampling for the sweet tooth at Sweet Carolina Cupcakes.

The night concluded with dinner, though most weren’t all that hungry thanks to the taste tour, and music at the Jazz Corner. The band was comprised of exceptional musicians and it proved to be a fitting end to a great, three-night stay on Hilton Head Island.

As they say, the trip was enjoyed by all.

For more information and updates, like this one about the Sole Survivor Contest, from Sundance Vacations

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