Our Hometown Heroes

The Village of Tequesta is celebrating our Hometown Heroes.  Our Tequesta Heroes are making a difference through their dedicated efforts on the front lines, in the heart of the pandemic, and through random acts of kindness.


Melissa Jeiven

Melissa Jeiven was nominated by Cathy and Leo Barrett for her compassion, patience and kindheartedness.  It takes a special kind of personality, calm demeanor, and fortitude to care for people with dire medical needs. This is especially true for the men and women who have selected medical care as their careers.

Melissa Jeiven is a Tequesta local that took that calling to heart. She has been a nurse at Jupiter Medical Center for over three years, and has been caring for patients with COVID 19 since the virus first appeared in Palm Beach County. She has a deep devotion to serving people and loves taking care of others. She has a calm inner strength and soothing air about her that is comforting and uplifting to her patients. Melissa never backs away from patients with difficult and complicated needs, despite challenging circumstances and events.

What sets Melissa apart and makes her a hero is that she often volunteers to work in the COVID Unit after being assigned to other less challenging units of the hospital.  Melissa portrays courage as she works with her COVID patients, knowing these individuals are at the most vulnerable and frightening time of their lives.  It is especially difficult on her patients because they cannot have their family with them due to the contagious nature of the virus. Melissa not only provides their immediate medical treatment, but communicates with them and their loved ones in ways that make them feel more at ease; helping them feel confident that they are receiving the best health care possible. 

Most Tequesta residents will recognize Melissa Jeiven as a local.  She was born and raised in Tequesta and attended Jupiter High School. During her high school years and beyond she worked in a number of Tequesta businesses, including Walgreens and Baldino’s Italian Restaurant. She has always loved being involved with activities that positively impact her community, most notably serving as a volunteer in the first aid tent at the annual Tequesta Chili Cook-Off.

Melissa earned her bachelor’s degree in business administration from Florida Atlantic University and began her professional career in the business world. However, she felt something was missing in her life and realized she wanted to make a difference in other peoples’ lives. She enrolled in Palm Beach State College, earned her license as a Registered Nurse, and started her nursing career with Jupiter Medical Center (JMC). It was clear from the beginning that nursing was more than a career for Melissa; it was a true calling. At this time, she is nearing completion of her Bachelor of Science in Nursing while working full time at JMC.

Thank you Melissa for making Tequesta and the world a better place!


Andi Baynham

Andi Baynham, a Tequesta resident and owner of Salt and Starlight was nominated by Danielle Dumas.  Danielle describes Andi as a creative entrepreneur who is motivated by helping others and making the world a better place. She has been supporting front line workers, who have been sacrificing their safety and time with their families, by gifting them with mindful self-care packages.

The packages include her bestselling hand sanitizer, custom-blended fragrances to calm the nervous system while promoting a more restful sleep, and detox bath salts to soothe tired muscles. These packages have gone to traveling nurses working on the front lines in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago and locally here in Tequesta, Jupiter, Stuart, West Palm Beach, Orlando, Coral Springs, Miami, Tampa and Leesburg. She has also shipped complimentary sanitizers to several doctors and pilots working around the country.

Andi has strong ties to the healthcare community - her aunt and uncle are physicians in North Carolina, both of her brothers-in-law (who are also Tequesta residents) are surgeons, and her mom and three of her closest friends are nurses/nurse practitioners. Her proudest moment related to these efforts is just knowing so many brave and selfless people who are willing to sacrifice coming home to their own families to help care for others. To nominate someone for a complimentary self-care package, please find Andi on Facebook at SaltandStarlight. 

One customer describes Andi as “one of a kind!” and another as “top notch”. 

Thank you Andi for making Tequesta and the world a better place!


One World Zero Waste, owned and operated by Stephen and Elana Smith, was nominated for their exceptional work over the last several weeks.  

  • Their purpose generally pertains directly to this health crisis and they are a beacon of light regarding the urgency of good custodianship for our land and water.
  • Specifically, over the past few weeks, One World Zero Waste has been connecting fresh produce from local farmers with residents of Tequesta.
  • They are serving local farmers by providing them with a market and they are serving Tequesta residents by making available healthy food.
  • They are offering curbside pick-up via phone-in orders, thereby making it easier and safer for Tequesta residents to comply with county and municipal health guidance.
  • Their zero waste practices are an excellent example and comprise a vital message.

Their customers love the vast array of environmental friendly options. One customer wrote, “I love everything about this store! Great zero-waste storage options, healthy foods including honey, maple syrup, elderberry syrup and creative/beautiful designs on handmade re-usable items. Definitely visit” and another said, “This place is epic!!!” 

About One World Zero Waste

The Tequesta storefront is a great resource for those hoping to eliminate excess waste from their homes; every item available for purchase is eco-friendly, and the edible goods are free of single-use plastics and other packaging. Shoppers can also bring clean containers to fill up with dozens of bulk food items, including spices, flours, nuts and dry pasta.

We have created One World Zero Waste to promote, teach and help others live a naturally sustainable lifestyle. Protecting the environment and all living creatures in it can be done by eliminating single use plastics from our lives and eating whole organic foods. Our goal is to make it easy & affordable for everyone to clean up their act with us.

Our passion and goal is to reduce plastic consumption and improve the state of our Earth, and so we provide natural products which are sustainably sourced, vegan, never tested on animals and make zero waste living easy and beautiful.

Thank you Stephen and Elana for making Tequesta and the world a better place!


Our charter hero is none other than CHEF ERIK PETERSON, owner/operator of EVO ITALIAN. He was nominated by Carol Pisaniello who extends her gratitude and thanks to Chef Erik and the EVO staff for their generous donation of meals to local hospitals, the Martin County Boys and Girls Club, and the Village’s Police and Fire Departments.

Last Friday you could find Chef Erik helping distribute meals to struggling families in Martin County. Choking back tears, he said, “These are the times that define us. I need to step up to the occasion and I can’t let these families down.” Erik is loved by many in the community for his generosity and dedication to the Village and its residents. A Tequesta local describes Erik as “a raft in the storm.”

Carol also noted that she is grateful that EVO has remained open for delivery and pick-up of meals for Tequesta residents. Evo is offering zero contact takeout, will send a picture of the Chefs preparing your food order, and will send a text when your order is delivered to your door.

“For the first time in modern day society we as citizens are being asked to help fight a war. Think about that, if we don’t help in the process - it won’t work. So it is important to remember when the authorities and people around say we are all in this together, they are not lying - the entire world is being affected. We are all in this together.” – Chef Erik Peterson

About Chef Erik

From Executive Chef Erik Pettersen’s heart and imagination, Evo Italian offers contemporary interpretation of authentic Italian recipes. The draw of family brought fourth generation Italian Chef Erik to south Florida where he opened Evo Italian in 2007. Evo, short for evolution, represents a dream inspired by his Mother Nancy to bring time-honored, old world traditions evolving full circle into fresh new beginnings. Years ago, in the Italian village where his grandparents lived, there were no supermarkets to shop for food, so dinner came fresh from the farm to the table.

Thank you Chef Erik for making Tequesta and the world a better place!