Mark Stanley and Tracy Steely
Tracy Steely and Mark Stanley are very pleased and excited to announce the launching of this new social media project, The Faces of Walton County. The couple are uniquely suited to the task. Tracy has spent her life bringing people together. She has been an elementary and high school teacher, an advocate for abused children, a wedding planner and caterer, and most recently a top-producing Realtor and owner of Beach Bunks Vacation Rentals. She is very active in her church, where she serves as leader of the Welcome Team.
Mark has always been fascinated with other cultures, history, and people’s individual stories. He was drawn to journalism but graduated with a degree in cultural anthropology. This path led to a 21-year civil service job at Eglin Air Force Base where he managed Eglin’s archaeology, historic preservation and tribal relations programs.
We all know that Walton County has the best beaches in the world. But what most residents and visitors don’t know is that this is also the location of the first European settlement in the Panhandle outside Pensacola, one of the oldest Native American settlements in North America, and the highest elevation in the state (a whopping 345 feet above sea level, which is the lowest state highpoint in the United States!).
Also overlooked are the people running the show. Walton County is home to thousands of “locals” who keep the lights on – literally. They change the air filters in the overworked A/C units in our vacation rentals, cook and serve our meals, change the sheets, and respond to distress calls when someone chooses to ignore double-red-flag warnings about rip currents. We have our share of celebrities, too. You will read about them in the coming months. But it is to the locals that we dedicate this website. Each person, each life, has a story to tell. Our goal is to tell you the story of our community, one face at a time. Enjoy!