Faces of Walton; Caring & Sharing’s Carly Harmer

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By Mark Stanley and Tracy Steely

Carly Harmer is the Executive Director of Caring & Sharing of South Walton, a nonprofit that provides food and assistance to local residents with the support of churches, civic groups, individuals, and businesses. Her organization has been a crucial component in our community’s response to the pandemic.

Please tell us a little bit about your family. “I live just off Highway 30A with my fiancé, Geoff Barnes, and our labradoodle, Sunny Cha Cha. Both of us have been in the area for 10-plus years and can’t imagine living anywhere else.”

Please tell us about your current career and what you love most about what you do. “I am the Executive Director of Caring & Sharing of South Walton. I absolutely LOVE every aspect of my current career. It has been a crazy few months, but we have been able to help hundreds of families in Walton County with food and financial assistance. There is no better feeling.”

What inspired you or led you to your current career? “I served on the Caring & Sharing board for about two years before my current position came open. I hinted here and there that I was interested and finally our board president asked if I was serious and I told him that it was actually my dream job. I have always loved working with nonprofits and having a pulse on the needs of our community. I feel honored to be leading Caring & Sharing.”

What is your favorite thing about our community? “We live in the most GENEROUS community I have ever been a part of. There are so many people that call this area home and help make sure that their neighbors are taken care of. Whenever a need arises, our community jumps at the opportunity to meet that need. People living here, love living here and really take pride in what our community stands for.”

What current or former local business makes you the most nostalgic about our community? “Hard to choose one… we have so many cool small businesses in South Walton that really embody what our community is all about with some beach vibes thrown in. Some current local favorites are Balance Health Studio, Nanbu, Blue Mountain Bakery, Shunk Gulley, etc., etc.”

If you could choose anyone, who would you have lunch with and where would you go locally? “Honestly, I’d like to have lunch with anyone at this point in the pandemic! However, if it were someone I would not typically have easy access to, I think I would want to have lunch with Ann Patchett, one of my favorite authors and an Indie bookstore owner, and we would head to the best lunch spot around, Chanticleer.”

Where do you see yourself in 5 to 10 years? “In 5-10 years, I hope to be married (planning a wedding during a pandemic is fun!), have a growing family, and be leading Caring & Sharing in a new building with expanding programs that make a lasting impact on the lives of the families we serve.”

Carly Harmer

What is the most beautiful place you have ever been? “I love to travel and have been lucky to see some really beautiful places. I would say that our national parks are some of the most beautiful places I have been – the Dry Tortugas, Grand Teton, Acadia, Rocky Mountain National Park, Yellowstone. The list goes on.”

Who inspires you to be better? “The clients we serve at Caring & Sharing. The better I am at all aspects of my job, the more resources and support we are able to provide.”

Finally, what advice would you give to people? “In a world where you can be anything, be kind. Seems a little cliché, but a little bit of kindness goes a long way.”

Tracy Steely and Mark Stanley are the hosts of a community website called The Faces of Walton County. The project aims to showcase the diverse residents of our community, one Face at a time. To nominate someone for an interview visit www.thefacesofwaltoncounty.com or call Tracy at 850-803-9822.

The Faces Of South Walton

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