Bay Buzz May 2024


Annual Fire Truck Pull Raises Over $13,000 for The Twin Cities Pavilion and Crestview Manor

Niceville Fire Dept Pull TeamAbout 200 service minded individuals on 18, 10-person Fire Truck Pull teams from the community helped raise more than $13,000 for Twin Cities Pavilion, Niceville, and the Crestview Manor on Saturday, April 6, as part of the Third Annual Fire Truck Pull. The event was hosted by and took place at 3rd Planet Brewing where multiple service clubs (Rotary Clubs, Knights of Columbus) and the Okaloosa County Fire-Rescue came together to make the pull a huge community service event. Over 500 people attended, including the pull teams themselves, Military organizations and families. On hand was radio station Coast 93.3 which broadcasted the event. Mid-Bay Rotarian Bob Hoffman and East Niceville Fire District Chief Dave Birch were the leads. The service organizations organized and staffed the overall event and Chief Birch and Deputy Chief Jonathan Kramer and fire fighters from the East Niceville Fire House ran the pull itself. The pull consisted of pulling a 38,000-pound fire truck 50 feet in the least amount of time. First through Third Place trophies and medallions (donated by Bay Area Awards) were awarded. Gift certificates donated by 3rd Planet and the Mid-Bay Rotary Club were given to the top three teams. In addition to the dollars raised at the Fire Truck Pull itself, multiple other organizations generously gave, including a $1,000 donation from the Okaloosa County Fire and Rescue Association. The bottom line: More than $13,000 was raised for the Twin Cities Pavilion and Crestview Manor Assisted Living Homes.

100 Men Who Care Exceeds $50,000 in Local Donations

100 Men Who Care – Emerald Coast recently exceeded $50,000 in donations supporting the needs of Okaloosa and Walton County nonprofits with its 2024 first quarter donation and its presentation of more than $7,800 to One Hopeful Place – a nonprofit meeting the needs of homeless people in our community. Since its founding, 100 Men Who Care has additionally contributed to C.A.L.M. House of Niceville, The Crossroads Center, A Bed 4 Me, Defenders of Freedom, Fresh Start for Children and Families, Healing Hoof Steps, Freedom Life Compass and Children in Crisis.

If you’re interested in becoming a member, email Scott at, visit the website: or message the group’s Facebook Page.

100 Men Who Care – Emerald Coast is a member of 100 Who Care Alliance with more than 700 chapters worldwide. Coining the phrase “The Power of 100,” each chapter meets quarterly, gathering its members at a local venue. Each member contributes $100 quarterly to a giving pool. Local charities and non-profits then have an opportunity to describe their mission, needs and plans.

Walton County Seeks Community Input on Growth and Development

The Residents and businesses in Walton County can help plan the future of their communities through a new initiative, Plan for Walton 2040, part of an Evaluation and Appraisal Report (EAR) of the county’s Comprehensive Plan, a state-mandated long-range plan that must be updated every seven years. It includes a major emphasis on community outreach and engagement to ensure that residents, businesses, and stakeholders have the chance to share their ideas and opinions. This input will be combined with the technical team’s assessment to create a long-range vision plan to guide Walton County’s future growth and development.

To conduct the review and planning effort, the Walton County Commission has engaged a team of consultants led by DPZ CoDesign. DPZ may be familiar to long-time residents as they helped author the Trust Plan in the 1980s and also planned and designed the town of Seaside, among others. The consulting team includes experts in transportation, green infrastructure, environmental planning, land economics, zoning analysis and legal review.

On the website,, residents can learn more about the planning process, sign up for email updates and take an initial survey to share their ideas and preferences for Walton County’s future. Or visit the Facebook page to ask questions and engage in the process. The planning team will also host a week-long workshop here in Walton County from May 1-8, 2024. Called a “charrette,” it will include public presentations, workshops on specific topics such as environment and transportation, open-studio time where stakeholders can interact with members of the planning team and “pop-up” outreach efforts in different areas of the County. Visit or email

“A Walk Down Magnolia Lane” Golf Soiree Raises $78,000 For Embrace Florida Kids

Embrace Florida Kids, a nonprofit faith-based organization, recently held its first-ever “A Walk Down Magnolia Lane” event raising more than $78,000 to provide homes, healing and hope for vulnerable children across the Florida Panhandle. The inaugural golf-themed soiree celebrated the world’s greatest golf tournament and featured a tournament-themed menu, golf-related activities with top-tier prizes for the winners, signature cocktails, outstanding company and music. Embrace Florida Kids’ mission is to embrace and nurture vulnerable children and families by providing homes, healing and hope through foster care, family preservation and residential services. The organization meets kids experiencing neglect, abuse and abandonment where they are and provides them with an individualized support system to help them flourish. Visit or follow @EmbraceFLKids.

Sharing and Caring Celebrates 35 Years!

Sharing and Caring of Niceville is celebrating its 35th Anniversary this year. Its doors opened on May 8, 1989, and they’ve been serving the community ever since. Sharing and Caring’s mission is to coordinate efforts to meet critical and urgent needs of families living in the Niceville, Valparaiso and Choctaw Beach area. “Sharing and Caring has been helping our neighbors for many years with food, rent, utilities and other essentials as the need in our area is ongoing,” says Jim Rollins, president. “We could not provide this assistance without the outstanding support from the community. We are truly grateful that so many organizations and individuals give food and financial aid, which serves as the foundation for our organization.”

Sharing and Caring saw a 26% increase of people needing food in 2023. Rent, utilities and other financial aid provided to families increased by 33%. The need for assistance for many in our community continues to grow.

Sharing and Caring follows the ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) guidelines for Okaloosa County in determining who receives assistance. It is based on earning more than the Federal Poverty Level, but not enough to afford the basics to live. ALICE households are forced to make tough choices, such as deciding between childcare and rent. These choices can have long-term consequences for their families.

Additional programs at Sharing and Caring include Tools for School, holiday meals at both Thanksgiving and Christmas, and the Holiday Toy store and Angel Tree. What began as a food bank has evolved into a multi-faceted giving organization to address the needs of families today. The Sharing and Caring staff is 100% volunteers. You can help through regular donations and/or organizing a food drive. Visit

Facebook: Instagram: snc_niceville
For additional information, contact Mari Plante, 1st Vice President or Patti Atcheson, Pantry Co-Director at 850-678-8459 or