Dream Catcher

Key Biscayne resident Nancy Shalhub recounts how her father, George, has inspired her throughout her life to be the best she can be — while encouraging others to do the same.
Text by Lourdes Reigosa | July 1, 2018 | People

In Grease, Frenchie tells Sandy, “The only guy a girl can depend on is her daddy.” For Key Biscayne resident Nancy Shalhub, this line holds true. That’s why she calls her father, George Shalhub, a hero. From George’s birthplace of war-torn Lebanon to his full-bloom life on the Key, one thing has remained constant: his dedication, hard work and care for his community. “Over the years, I’ve seen my father give up his life to make sure others were happy,” says Nancy. “He always puts himself last and has always offered honesty and loyalty to anyone that approached him, even if he didn’t know them.”
George emigrated from Lebanon in 1976 and headed to West Palm Beach for a new life. He settled in and by 17, was working full-time as a bagboy and mechanic while attending college. But it wasn’t until the tender age of 21 that he was asked to become partner at a gas station on the then sparsely-populated island of Key Biscayne. Two years later, he was named the youngest gas dealer in America by the oil company Gulf. Eventually, he made himself a home on the Key, got married and had children who would call the Key home as well. “He has dedicated over 30 years of his life to Key Biscayne and continues to do so by refusing to move off the island,” says Nancy. “Until this day, he takes risks, makes difficult decisions, and never regrets anything — and that’s a quality of a true leader.”
Thankfully, his efforts haven’t gone unnoticed. Over the course of 3 decades, he’s been awarded more than 25 awards, including the “Excellence of Business Award on Key Biscayne” for 10 consecutive years, presented by Key Biscayne Council. “The most rewarding thing for him has been making a life in a place that many would only dream about,” says Nancy. “He feels extremely blessed to have his family, business and children’s schooling in a place that many just come to vacation.”
George’s example has taught Nancy many life lessons as well. “He’s shown me that there’s nothing one cannot accomplish if you truly set your mind and heart on it, whatever that may be,” she says. “He has always pushed me to challenge myself because he aspired to become more than what was expected of him while never forgetting his roots or his loyalty.”