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Speaker’s Series – Ben Towill and Charlie Layton
Speaker’s Series – Ben Towill and Charlie Layton

Wed, Sep 20


DI Club

Speaker’s Series – Ben Towill and Charlie Layton

In-Person and Zoom

Time & Location

Sep 20, 2023, 6:30 PM – 8:00 PM

DI Club, 600 Island Park Dr, Charleston, SC 29492, USA

About the event

The Daniel Island Community Speaker’s Series will resume on Wednesday evening, September 20, from 7:00 to 8:00 p.m. in the ballroom at the Daniel Island Club.  Our speakers will be Ben Towill and Charlie Layton who competed in the Talisker Atlantic Challenge by rowing 3,000 miles across the Atlantic to raise money for The Green Heart Project, a local nonprofit that provides garden-based learning for seventeen local schools.

To most people, spending 40 days bobbing around in the Atlantic Ocean may not sound appealing, but for these two guys it was a shared dream come true.  Both have long been intrigued with the Talisker Whiskey Challenge which is generally regarded as “the world’s toughest row”.  Despite the fact that neither had prior rowing experience they toughened themselves up, purchased their 25-foot ocean rowboat, had some practice rows in the waters around Charleston, and set off from the Canary Islands on December 12.  Forty days and 3,300 miles later they arrived at their destination in Antigua.

As one might expect, such a journey included some awe-inspiring highlights, but also some terrifying, life-threatening experiences.  During their 40-day adventure they encountered only one other rowboat, two sailboats, and two container ships and discovered that the ocean is an incredibly big place.

Ben founded a restaurant group that operates Basic Kitchen, Post House, and Sullivan’s Fish Camp.  Charlie is the executive chef at Basic Kitchen.  The common denominator is a shared love for healthy eating -- local produce, wild-caught seafood, and sustainably raised meat.  They are firm believers that healthy food choices can have a positive impact on our health, community, and the environment.

Given that background, they chose The Green Heart Project as the recipient of the funds raised by their adventure.  Green Heart began in a food desert in downtown Charleston.  Many of the elementary school students came from low-income households that lacked access to fresh fruits and vegetables.  Green Heart worked with an open-minded school principal and built a single urban garden with a group of 3rd grade students.  The project has since mushroomed as students and volunteers work together and mentorships have been formed.  Green Heart gardens have spread to 17 schools across the area.  Through their efforts Ben and Charlie were able to donate $100,000 to the cause.

This is a riveting adventure tale which you surely do not want to miss.

This event will be held on Wednesday evening, September 20, at the Daniel Island Club. There will be a cash bar and passed hors oeuvres between 6:30 and 7:00 pm. The program will begin promptly at 7:00 pm and will conclude around 8:00 pm.

Please click on the link below to register.

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