I first began visiting Ocracoke Island in the 1970s. I was a few years out of college and in the summer of 1978 I came to the Outer Banks to work for a friend who owned a recreational boating rental business. Little did I know that I would soon call the Outer Banks home.
That next summer, I moved to the Outer Banks and opened my own vacation rental company, Ocean Atlantic Rentals, in Nags Head. I also met my future wife, Eden. We loved camping in Ocracoke – we’d hang out on the beach and take in those beautiful sunrises Ocracoke is known for.
Fast forward to 1992 – we were very active in our business and going to Ocracoke was our stress reliever. We finally said, “We love it so much, maybe we need a house down here.” So, we ended up making it our home in 1997.
Can you imagine if Cape Hatteras National Seashore hadn’t been established when it was? What kinds of development would be happening on Hatteras and Ocracoke Islands? The National Park Service, to me, is one of the most important elements of our community. We are a tourist economy and Cape Hatteras National Seashore, Wright Brothers National Memorial and Fort Raleigh National Historic Site are our biggest attractions.
For forty years, Ocean Atlantic Rentals has been involved in the life of the Outer Banks community. One thing we’ve done as a company for a good long time is to stress the importance of giving back. I decided to partner with Outer Banks Forever because I care about the people, the history, and the land of the Outer Banks.
Having been involved with nonprofits for many years, I think it’s important to get started on good, solid ground. By becoming a Forever Founder, we have the privilege of helping to make that happen. It’s a bright spot to have a nonprofit friend of the National Park Service.