Work Hard, Play Harder

By Debbie Lagestee     •     Photos by Valerie & Ed Photography

Some people go through high school, college, and beyond trying to figure out what they want to do with their life and which career path to choose. Steve Bone does not fall into this category. Conversely, he knew he wanted to be a pilot at a very young age. It was his childhood dream, and nothing was going to deter him from reaching his goal. Steve is a native South Carolinian, born in Columbia and raised in Aiken. Upon graduating high school in 1988, he enrolled at the University of South Carolina. Simultaneously, he met with a recruiter, which resulted in him enlisting in the Georgia Air National Guard to become a turbo-prop and propeller mechanic. Steve earned a B.S. in Business Administration with a major in marketing while pursuing his goal of becoming a military pilot. In 1998, he interviewed for pilot training, but it was not to be. Instead, he went to navigator training, learning new skills and continuing to advocate for himself, refusing to take no for an answer. In 2002, 14 years to the day of his enlistment, Steve began pilot training. The flight training he received was second to none and was well worth the wait. His childhood dream had come to fruition. He received six air medals and assisted in the search and rescue of Marcus Luttrell, the lone survivor. After flying for the Air Guard for 10 years and serving for 24 years, Steve retired as a Major on July 4, 2012. The camaraderie and bond he experienced with his squadron still run deep. He takes an annual ski trip with some of them every year. Steve is continuing his love of flying at Delta Airlines as Captain on the 737 aircraft.

Erica Bone was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio. Growing up, her family enjoyed many vacations together. She has fond memories of camping trips, white water rafting, and canoeing. It became a family tradition to allow each person to choose the activity for a day and the restaurant for dinner. She always looked forward to their next adventure. One of her favorite destinations was Myrtle Beach and the side trips to Charleston. She recalls thinking to herself, “I could live here one day.”  Erica admired her parents’ love for one another, their ability to have fun, dress up for costume parties, and laugh together. She vowed to herself that she would find a spouse to emulate that type of relationship one day. Erica attended The Ohio State University. Her love of clothing, fashion, and styles led her to study fashion merchandising. While working in the retail business, Erica soon realized she disliked monotony and complacency. Her upbringing of traveling gave her a sense of wanderlust. In 1996, she changed her career path. She accepted a job with Delta Airlines as a reservation agent, acting as a stepping stone to her current position as a flight attendant.  Erica loves her job and enjoys her role as an onboard leader.

Erica and Steve met while working on the same flight in August 2013. After their workday ended, they had a layover in Washington, D.C. The flight crew agreed to meet for dinner and drinks. Steve and Erica hit it off right away. When Erica, who lived in Phoenix, learned that Steve lived in Charleston, she wondered if this could be fate.

After dinner, just the two of them went for a long walk strolling the streets of Crystal City. They walked and talked for nearly 3 hours, covering an array of topics while getting to know each other. Neither of them wanted the walk to end. The next day they were scheduled to go separate ways. However, a delayed flight and a mechanical problem reconnected them, allowing them to have breakfast together. It was a serendipitous encounter followed by many more similar ones in the following months. They both took it as a sign they were meant to be together. They were married on August 8, 2015, 2 years from the date they first met. The ceremony was on the beach at the Cottages on Charleston Harbor. It was the perfect backdrop to begin their lives together surrounded by their families, including Steve’s daughter Amelia.

Amelia is a 15-year-old sophomore at Lucy Beckham High School. She is an avid reader, and loves Marvel movies, and participates in a theatre group. Steve and Amelia share the same dry, witty sense of humor. Amelia has a passion for animals. She had the honor of naming the 2 kittens they adopted, Creamsicle and Klondike.

Steve and Erica moved to Carolina Bay in 2015. Being the first house built on their street, they became the unofficial welcoming committee of Gammon Street. Erica says, “We have great neighbors. Everyone is so nice and willing to help you.” Steve and Erica have an unwritten rule if the string lights are on in their backyard, anyone is welcome to stop in for a drink.

One of their favorite things about the neighborhood is participating in the Halloween decorating contest sponsored by the Social committee. They are repeat winners of the Most Creative Category. Steve is also on the community Wednesday Night Mixers Bowling Team. Each week, he uses the bowling ball he inherited from his grandad. Erica enjoys going out to dinner with girlfriends in the neighborhood.

It’s evident by their professions the Bones love to travel. They take advantage of the perks of their job and travel the world. They honeymooned in Ireland, driving around with no itinerary, visiting towns and pubs throughout the countryside.

They’ve been to Munich twice for Oktoberfest, partaking in all the local festivities and dressing up in the local attire. It is a trip they hope to repeat annually. From Germany, they toured Switzerland then ventured to Austria to explore the Alps on a motorcycle. Erica surprised Steve with a trip to Costa Rica for his 50th birthday celebration.

In 2020, to celebrate their 5th anniversary, they went to Las Vegas to renew their wedding vows, a tradition they plan to do every 5 years in a different city. Flying is a huge part of their lives, but they also cherish their time on the ground. When they are home in Charleston, they like to try new restaurants, go to concerts, and spend time outdoors.

Warm sunny days are spent on their boat with Amelia riding on the bow. They enjoy cruising around, listening to music, stopping for lunch at Shem Creek. No matter where they are, Steve and Erica have fun laughing and enjoying life, living their philosophy, “Work hard, play harder. Do whatever it takes.”

This article was featured in the December 2021 issue of Carolina Bay Neighbors magazine.


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