Marie Gainey Hinson, President - Marie graduated from Walton High School in DeFuniak Springs. She was a cheerleader throughout high school, served as 1957-58 Homecoming Maid and 1958-59 Homecoming Queen. Marie is also a graduate of Mississippi State University and taught elementary school until retirement in 2003. She served as Mississippi State President of Kappa Kappa Iota (the oldest national teachers’ sorority in America), as well as National Music Director of the Kappa Chorus for seven years. During that time she developed a National Kappa songbook still in use today at the National Conventions. She has written numerous songs for Grit & Grace. Marie was the first woman elected to the Monticello, FL City Council, served as President of the Decatur, MS Chamber of Commerce, and served as president/officer of several civic organizations in Florida, Mississippi, and Alabama. She serves as vice president of the Walton County Heritage Association and a member of the Chautauqua Hall of Brotherhood Foundation. She enjoys volunteering with local organizations. She and husband, Charles, were honored to serve as the Decatur, MS Christmas Family of the Year in 1998. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary on September 29th, 2011. They have one son, Chuck.
Eric Galloway, Vice President - Eric is a graduate of Ponce de Leon High School. He holds a degree in Mathematics from Faulkner University, Montgomery where he also performed in theater productions. Eric enjoys spending time with his three young sons and his wife Megan. He is an avid fisherman. He is a Sunday school teacher at the Sweet Gum Head Church of Christ and a Board Member for Camp Wiregrass, where he is a 13 year Veteran Senior Camp counselor. Eric is a Financial Advisor with Edward Jones Investments. His office is located in DeFuniak Springs. He received the Edward Jones Dare to Soar Award for three consecutive years. He was honored in 2011 with the Pacesetter Award, the Winners Circle Award for Achievements in Excellence. Eric is a three year member of the Walton Chamber of Commerce, Board Member and community Involvement Officer for DeFuniak Springs Kiwanis and Corporate Sponsor of Krewe de Yak. He is a tee ball coach and sponsor for the DeFuniak Springs Little League. Eric is Vice President and corporate sponsor of Grit and Grace. This is his third year with Grit and Grace.
Karen Johnson, Secretary - Karen Johnson, a transplant from the Chicago area and has lived in north Walton County for 32 years. She works with her husband Joe, at his chiropractic office in Paxton. Karen is very active in her community and sits on the board of directors not only for Grit and Grace, but also for the Florala Memorial Library. She is church secretary for First Presbyterian Church of Florala, Alabama. Every June, Karen is race director for the Alligator Trot 5k, a run around beautiful Lake Jackson averaging 300 runners. If you were to ask Karen, she would say her greatest accomplishment is her five children. Karen is now grandmother to precious first grandson, Tank……just call her “Oma!”
Ann Robinson, Treasurer - Ann is a former elementary teacher and high school English teacher for deaf children. She majored in Theater Major at FSU and attends Chautauqua, NY regularly. Ann has performed in several college productions and all but two Grit and Grace productions.
Carolyn Denise Williams, Board Member - As a resident of Walton County, she has worked in the healthcare industry for over 36 years, fourteen of those years at Healthmark. She is married for 37 years to James Williams (Butch) who is also a nurse; they have been blessed with one wonderful son, Justin Williams, who attends college in Tallahassee, Florida. Carolyn is a member of Greater Saint Joseph AME Church, where she serves on the Stewardess Board, is Senior Choir – Vice President, and Missionary Board President. Four years ago, she began a wonderful journey as Community Educator with Covenant Hospice. Covenant Hospice is a not-for-profit organization that provides compassionate end of life care to those facing end of life issues. Her soul has been blessed to be apart of so many lives at this special time in ones life, and to be apart of the Covenant Hospice family. Service to her community is very important, Carolyn’s service organizations include: Women’s Advisory Board-North Okaloosa Medical Center; Board member of COPE, Board member DFS Kiwanis, Grit & Grace Board member, Chamber member for both Crestview and De Funiak Springs, Pilot Club of De Funiak Springs, Anchor Division, and Communities for a lifetime member. Carolyn enjoys any opportunity to provide service to her community, she especially enjoys the fellowship and life long friendships that have formed as a result of being a part of these wonderful programs. A fun trivia about Carolyn is that she performed in the very first production of Grit and Grace as Maria Milton. She states that, “it was truly an awe-inspiring experience that I will hold dear for the rest of my life.” Carolyn looks forward to many more years of service to her Church,
Family, Covenant Hospice and Community.
Chuck Hinson, Board Member - After graduation from Southern Mississippi with a B.S. degree in Journalism and an A.A. degree in Business Management, Chuck moved to Tallahassee, FL to further his education and began work on his masters in international communications at Florida State University. In 1992, he accepted a job with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games and made his move to Georgia. He served as the media liaison and event coordinator for Beers/Integral for the Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta, Ga. While in Atlanta, Chuck also wrote and published a book about the ins and outs of relationships titled, You’re Still Single, Yes I Am, and put out his first and only album, Losing My Mind. After the Olympics, he moved to the Florida Panhandle to further his career in Journalism and event coordination. He worked as the sports A & E editor for the DeFuniak Herald/Beach Breeze Newspaper from 1996 – 2008, but continues to write a weekly “Art Clip” column still today. In 1997, he opened Hilltop Productions, which promotes, produces, and manages festivals, concerts, trade shows, expos and corporate events throughout the southeast. In 2003, he and an associate formed H & M Event Party Rentals of Northwest Florida, which does more than 250 weddings, corporate events and property/association meetings, annually. He is the president of the association of Emerald Coast Event Professionals, president of the Krewe de Yak Mardi Gras krewe, and a past president of the Walton County Press Club. Chuck has served on the Florida Public Relations Council board, with the Florida Chautauqua Assembly, and the Walton County Habitat for Humanity board.
Kim Kirby, Board Member - Kim is a graduate from the University of Alabama with a Bachelor’s degree in Administrative Sciences with an in depth study in Public Administrative Sc Sciences with an in depth study in Public Administration. She is a proud public servant with over 23 years of service in municipal government and is very involved in her community with organizations such as Grit & Grace, the Kiwanis Club of DeFuniak Springs, and IMPACT 100 of Northwest Florida. She is a member of the Florida City County Managers Association and the American Public Works Association where she presently serves as Immediate Past President of the Florida Chapter. In her leisure time, Kim enjoys fishing, the beach, travel, reading, cooking, writing fiction, and spending time with family and friends. Kim is married to Rick Kirby, Technical Director for the 46th Test Wing Technical Support Squadron at Eglin Air Force Base, and a DeFuniak Springs native whose story is featured in this year’s production of Grit and Grace.
Cate Campbell, Board Member - Originally from Texas, Cate is a graduate of Southern Methodist University. She’s a seasoned performer and dancer and most recently performed as “Clairee” in the local production of Steel Magnolias. Previous credits include Bye Bye Birdie, West Side Story, Guys & Dolls, Showboat along with the operas of Samson and Delilah and Aida. Cate had the honor of studying with Nikita Talin, Sir Franklin White, Merce Cummingham, and Mdme. Marina Svetlova. She is an active member of the Board of Grit and Grace, Board of Walton Co. Heritage Association, a volunteer for the Walton Co. Heritage Museum, Friends of the Library, Alaqua Animal Refuge, and a member of the DFS Woman’s Club. She continues to enjoy her background in dance by taking Zumba and Yoga classes. She is grateful for the opportunity to participate in Grit and Grace to continue learning more about the history of Walton County through the oral storytelling passed on from generation to generation.
Mark Douglass, Board Member - Mark is a freelance artist and karaoke DJ. He is an FSU alumnus with a degree in Art and played the trombone with the Marching Chiefs. He was in Walton High’s senior class play of 1975, “The Curious Savage.” He is currently playing keyboards with the Sandy Reef Band from Destin. Mark is a registered artist with the Walton County Cultural Arts Alliance. This is Mark’s third year with Grit and Grace.
Shelia Wilkerson Grimes, Board Member - Shelia is employed with American General Life & Accident Insurance Company. She is the daughter of Mr. Henry T. (deceased) and Mildred T. Wilkerson of Ponce De Leon, FL. She is married to Broderick Grimes and has three children, Tiffany, Trey and Victoria. She is a graduate of Walton High School and University of Florida. She is a member of the Red Bay Church of Christ. She volunteers as an etiquette, manners and leadership consultant with the Okaloosa School System Trendsetter program and an Infinity Committee Member for the South Walton Boys and Girls Club of the Emerald Coast. She enjoys entertaining, cooking, and reading. This is Shelia’s second year with Grit and Grace.