This year, the Beaches Museum will host its 42nd gala Beach Legends. The fun; which includes a cocktail hour, silent as well as live auctions, and a seated dinner; begins at 6:30 p.m. Friday, September 16, 2022, at TPC Sawgrass Clubhouse. Proceeds will go toward educational programs and operational needs of the Beaches Museum.
This year’s honorees:
Bill Hillegass was raised in Jacksonville Beach as one of 9 children. He lost his father at an early age and watched his mom raise their family on her own by establishing a bookkeeping business in her living room. Bill and all his brothers pitched in with early morning paper routes, 7 days a week. After attending the Air Force Academy and working for a large accounting firm in Jacksonville, Bill established his own CPA firm in Jacksonville Beach. Throughout the following years, Bill was committed to helping others at the beaches through his involvement with The Exchange Club,Deck the Chairs, and numerous other organizations; as well as silently helping many individuals with their needs. He has always had a love for preserving beaches history and became involved with Beaches Area Historical Society in its early years; running the annual auction, fund-raising for the relocation of historic buildings to the history park and being a driving force behind building the beautiful museum we enjoy today.
Herb Peyton, a self-made man, started Gate Petroleum as a 1-gas-station company in 1960. It has grown into a large regional corporation with multiple divisions, including hospitality. In 1981, Herb was heading out on an around-the-world trip, having decided to semi-retire. Then he heard the oil company that owned the historic Ponte Vedra Inn and Club was selling that Ponte Vedra property and 8,000 acres of primitive woodlands on the Guana River. Having no experience in running a resort, he decided to jump in with a bid against large national companies; and he won. Today, the Ponte Vedra Inn and Club is considered one of the top oceanfront resorts in the country, having received the coveted 5-Diamond Resort Rating in the luxury tourism industry. The miles of coastline he purchased are now owned by the state of Florida to be preserved for future generations.
Mary Watson has been part of beautifying our community and preserving natural environments for decades. She is actively involved on the Garden Committee at the Cummer Museum of Art and Gardens. Mary routinely decorates Christ Episcopal Church for the various Holidays and special events. Additionally, she was instrumental in bringing a national organization, The Garden Conservancy, to Florida. However, these efforts are all eclipsed by her work on Bird Island Park. Located in Ponte Vedra Beach, it took 8 years of planning, fund-raising and construction; but she and a group of hard-working volunteers dedicated the 4.2-acre wildlife and native plants park in 2010. As a St. Johns County Master Gardener, Mary is proud that all the plants in the park are native, not requiring much maintenance; except for WEEDING, which she and others continue to do 12 years later! Mary was integral in the fund-raising and construction of Bird Island and currently coordinates local Boy Scouts pursuing Eagle Scout projects to continue to beautify the park.
Bishop Percy Golden
Dr. Percy Golden grew up in the church his mother founded in their living room in 1976 and he took the lead in 1992 to build and grow the congregation over the past 30 years where he serves as Bishop of the Holy Church of the Living God Revival Center in Atlantic Beach. Dr. Golden not only ministers to the Beaches communities from the pulpit but also serves as the Chaplain and Critical Incident Officer (CIO) of the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department where he provides support, counseling and encouragement to the first responders and their families that serve our entire county. In addition, he serves as Chaplain of the Atlantic Beach Police Department. Dr. Golden has been instrumental in preserving the history and culture of his elementary school through the Rhoda Martin Cultural Heritage Center and was a visionary behind “Gospel in the Park,” held in Atlantic Beach annually since 2004.
To learn more about how you can support this event, please email Chris Hoffman at email@example.com or call 904-241-5657 x 113.
Beach Legends 2022
Beaches Museum Culture History Community