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From the Editor: Inspiration, Facination, Illumination

David Sendler (STEFAN ANDREEV)What fun we’ve had put-ting together our first-ever People Issue. Wanting to capture the spirit and substance of all those around us, we turned up stories of inspiration, fascination and illumination that just delighted us. Witness:

INSPIRATION. We’ve long wanted to know the details behind former TV anchor Jessica Stilwell’s fall and subsequent comeback. Back in 2008, her husband, Samir Cabrera, was sent to jail, she lost her job, her house and more. Now, for the first time, she’s telling how she rallied with her three daughters to rebuild her life. It is a spellbinding and uplifting tale of grit and heart (p. 34).

These words alone signal her will to survive: “The one quote I repeated in my head 100 times a day is, ‘If you’re going through hell, keep going.’ If you stop when you’re in the middle of your hell, you get stuck; you never get out of it. There were days when I wanted to just stop trying, but that quote would pop into my head. God has given me three amazing girls, and I wasn’t going to let our screwups be their problem. We were all going to get through it…and we did.”

FASCINATION. We turned loose gifted photographer Greg Kahn to go people watching with his camera. And, boy, did this Pulitzer Prize finalist deliver. The joy of a wedding in the park, the focus of an artist, the comfort of a man in his Ferrari, the intensity of a boy with his basketball—all add up to a remarkable photo essay. We even learned one trick from Greg. His touching photo of the boy in front of the lemonade stand—which ended up as our Parting Shot on p. 136—happened as Greg was lining up a shot of a stunt show. “Sometimes,” Greg told us, “you just have to look and see what’s behind you.” Greg did…and there was the boy, the lemonade stand and a beautiful moment in time.

We thought it would be appropriate, too, for this People Issue to use real folks from the community—instead of professional models—to show off the summer styles for our fashion shoot. There was natural concern about their ease in front of a camera. But our three notables from the local arts scene—Stacey Bulloch, Veron Ennis and Kristen Coury—posed and projected with consummate grace. See for yourself on p. 48. Fascinating experiment. Grand results.

ILLUMINATION. In our “6 Who Could Change Your Life” (p. 54), we learned that the best Key lime pie in Southwest Florida came from a recipe Randy Essig of Randy’s Fishmarket got from a woman across the state on her deathbed. We meet golf guru Jim Suttie who aims to show you how to get the best swing for your body and says that “95 percent of the people I see are better after an hour with me.” Want to define who you are by the way you dress? Julie Hussey, stylist and sales manager at Marissa Collections, says, “I can help you speak before you even open your mouth.” And you’ll come to understand the profound impact Sharon MacDonald at Lee Memorial Health Systems has on the fight against cancer and the battle against children’s diseases along with the contributions of Tom Moran and Bob Edwards to wealth management here and promoting the arts in Southwest Florida.

Renowned photographer Carlton Ward takes us “Into the Heart of Florida” (p. 60) on a thousand-mile journey to raise awareness of the corridor for wildlife movement. He gives us stunning images and keen insight into the diversity of our state.

And, finally, lest we become so taken with our human achievements, we get Michael Korb’s amusing “Robots Are People, Too” (p. 30), where he demonstrates how robots are doing better and better than we are at many of the functions of our daily lives. Fine. Want to get next year’s People Issue produced by those blinking lights and gobs of RAM? I hope not.

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