Chief Audie Rowell Talks Charity Work, Outdoor Fun, and Life on 30A - 30A

Chief Audie Rowell Talks Charity Work, Outdoor Fun, and Life on 30A

By: Abigail Abesamis Demarest | Posted Mar 26, 2021

We recently chatted with Chief Audie Rowell, chief of operations at the Walton County Sheriff’s Office, board president of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, and board member of the Destin Charity Wine Auction, to learn about a few of his favorite local events, charity work, and his favorite part about life on the beach.

1. What do you like to do in your free time?

I like to exercise and spend time with my family. Those are probably the two biggest things that I do outside of work, in addition to the nonprofit work I do. 

I’ve been with the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center for about three years, and I got involved because of Julie Porterfield — their Chief Executive Officer. Julie has been doing this for a long time, and she has an unbelievable passion to help children. Interacting with Julie and seeing her passion to do something for children really inspired me to get involved. In law enforcement, a lot of times we only have a brief moment in an abused child’s life, when we’re responding to a call, and working with the Children’s Advocacy Center has given me an opportunity to see what goes on long-term in the lives of these children in the years following. Healing children and ending child abuse is our vision statement.

2. What’s your favorite thing about living at the beach?

The people here are so courteous, so wonderful, and pleasant to be around.

I enjoy the people that are here at the beach just as much as I enjoy going to the beach.

3. What’s your favorite way to spend time outdoors?

Audie with his family.

We spent a lot of time at the beach when we first moved here from Tallahassee in 2009, but these days my kids are older and we like to use the bike path for walking, exercising, and riding bikes. I live right off the bike path, so we use that as a way to get out and around, and get some fresh air.

4. What are your three favorite local spots?

I can’t tell you that [laughs]. I’m telling you, I can’t and do you know why? Because the 20 others that I don’t mention and know that I come to their place will say something to me. I spend a lot of time in restaurants; I know a lot of the chefs and owners just because of what I do.

What’s special about 30A is that I can’t think of one chain restaurant here. Each restaurant is unique and often individually owned, and it’s really refreshing. I don’t think you can find many other places in the country where you have these boutique places that you can go in and have a great meal and we’re very fortunate.

5. What are some of your favorite local events?

I like the Seaside Farmers Market, and the Seaside School Half Marathon and 5K Race is a good one. I’ve attended performances in past years of the 30A Songwriters Festival, it’s a great event, and of course, the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Gala and Destin Charity Wine Auction are great events as well — I’ve been several times.

To learn more about the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, click here or follow them on Facebook.


Abigail Abesamis Demarest is a writer, editor and former New Yorker based in sunny Panama City Beach, Florida. Her writing has been featured in HuffPost Food & Drink,, Insider, Business Insider, Apartment Therapy and more. When she’s not writing she’s reading up on the latest wellness trends, teaching Zumba classes, or reading a book on the beach.