Amy Weaver: Honoring the Past by Building a Better Tomorrow

Amy Weaver: Honoring the Past by Building a Better Tomorrow

“If I can help, I feel like I need to be there,” said Amy Weaver as we began our interview in her office in Socastee. It is said that if you want something done ask a busy person, and this certainly rings true with Amy who is the mother of two teenagers, a successful business owner with her husband, Ratt, a tireless volunteer and respected leader in her community. “My most comfortable spot is in the background, making things happen,” Amy laughed. “I’m really happier when someone else takes all the glory.”

As a member of the all volunteer board of Socastee Heritage Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to preserving the history and unique heritage of Socastee, Amy and her fellow board members organize the annual Socastee Heritage Festival, held the last Saturday in April. The organization has also purchased the historic Sarvis House, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and Amy is currently leading the work to open the home for use as an event venue. “We want the house to be a bigger part of the community,” said Amy. “We held a Christmas Fair there this past December and it went very well.”

Fellow board member, Teresa Turbeville, believes Amy’s contribution to the Socastee Heritage Foundation has changed their community for the better. “I have had the privilege of working alongside Amy, and I am truly amazed at her ability to take on so many tasks – always with a smile on her face. She certainly wears many hats and goes above and beyond to get the job done. Amy has such a huge heart and is definitely an asset to the Socastee Heritage Foundation and our community as well. We are blessed to have her dedicated involvement, and I am personally blessed to call her my friend.”

This will be the sixth year of the Socastee Heritage Festival and funds raised are granted to help children in the Socastee and St. James school districts with a variety of needs. “We have given grants to help families keep their power on, helped with medical bills, provided gas cards to parents who are travelling for medical reasons, paid for educational field trips, and more. All grants are given anonymously to protect the children.” In 2015, $4,000 was granted to underprivileged children living in the Socastee community, and the festival has also funded two special needs playgrounds in the area.

I asked Amy how she became involved in the Socastee Heritage Foundation. “Two of the board members approached me in 2010 about participating. The organization was not doing as well as they had hoped, and the group wanted to plan an annual event to raise funds and spotlight the organization. My sister and I had spent the last few years helping care for my parents, who both passed in 2009, so the timing was perfect.” Amy pitched in, and after nine months of planning and hard work, the first Socastee Heritage Festival was held in April of 2011.

A lifelong resident of the Socastee community, Amy is very proud of her heritage. “Growing up I lived on Peachtree Road, and I could walk from my house, though the woods, all the way to the boat landing,” Amy remembers. The area is now developed, and dotted with residential communities and businesses. “I loved growing up here, it was, and still is, the best of both worlds. We live in a small, close knit community, but have the city [Myrtle Beach] close by if we want to see a show or go shopping, something not available in many small towns. The technical term for our area is rural/urban interface.” Amy went on to share fond childhood memories of riding with her father in the cab of his pickup late at night when he ran his hunting dogs. “I can still hear Daddy talking with his friends on the CB radio.”

It never occurred to Amy to go away for college. “I wanted to stay close to home, and, of course, I had already started dating Ratt,” she said with a big smile. After graduating high school, Amy began classes at Coastal Carolina University, planning to become a teacher. Ratt, a native of Florida, had come to the area to work, planning to eventually move to Alaska, but fell in love with the Grand Strand and decided to make it his home. Amy and Ratt married while she was still in college and in 1990, Ratt and his former partner opened Glasstec, a specialty trade contractor that does glass glazing and exterior surface waterproofing, one of the few companies doing this work in inaccessible locations, specializing in height. The business quickly took off, and after Amy graduated, Ratt needed someone to manage the office. Like a lot of well laid plans, her teaching career was abandoned for one in business. “I thought it would be easier to raise a family if I was working for myself, I wanted the flexibility to be there when my children needed me.” Today, Amy and Ratt have twelve employees; most have worked for the couple for over ten years. “Our team members are our family,” Amy told me.

During our interview, Riverlee, Amy and Ratt’s 17 year old daughter, was in another office working on schoolwork. Riverlee, named because Amy and Ratt met on the river, is completing her senior year of high school through an online school. An expert hunter, Riverlee travels a lot to hunt, making traditional school nearly impossible. After graduation, this young outdoorswoman plans to attend a school in Colorado to become a hunting guide. Thirteen year old Landon attends public school – “He’s much too social for online school,” Amy told me laughing. “He doesn’t want to miss anything!”

Amy and Ratt own 15 acres of land behind the Glasstec office and warehouse, and Amy came up with the idea to develop it as a special event venue. Today, RH Acres hosts the annual Mythical Medieval Festival every November and Harley Bike Week events in May and October. Private events are held throughout the year and a Mayfest is planned for 2017. “During the recession, the construction business was hit hard, and we decided to use the property to generate extra income. It’s been a lot of fun and is growing every year!”

A strong sense of community combined with natural leadership skills make Amy one of the first to jump in to help when anyone in the community is in trouble. She and Ratt own horses, and Amy and Riverlee love to ride for pleasure, but Amy saddles up for search and rescue operations whenever needed. “I helped in the search for Heather Elvis. It was extremely hard, but I am always glad I can do something to help,” she told me.

Her country roots run deep, and Amy’s friends and family tease her about driving a big, white Suburban. “I love big trucks!” But, along with boating, fishing and traditionally country activities, this multi-dimensional woman also enjoys Broadway plays even though she rarely makes it to the Big Apple these days. “I think Mama Mia is my favorite.” She and Ratt are movie buffs, and Amy’s all time favorite is Gone With the Wind. “I try to emulate Scarlett’s good qualities,” she told me mischievously.

When I asked Amy about the future, she told me she has a common problem – saying no! “I am going to focus more on me. I’m working out daily and feel great. As RH Acres becomes more successful, Ratt and I want to travel – out west, to Alaska – we love the National Park scene.” Amy went on in a more serious tone, “Yes, I am strong and independent, but I have always relied on my faith to get me through in good times and bad.”

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