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Southwest Florida’s Finest aid SUPERSTORM Disaster Relief Efforts
*** While the majority of Lee & Charlotte County’s Fishing Guides are chasin’ redfish tails in late Fall, a select few chased cell phone towers instead. ***
As many of you well know, a powerful hurricane met up w a strong Nor’eastern, creating a perfect storm much like the movie. But instead of the drama taking place out at sea, the devastation hit the New York and New Jersey shorelines and inner cities. Infamous SuperStorm Sandy swept the Northeast, putting millions of people in need of help. To make matters worse, a crippling winter storm followed in its path.
Valrico Ventures, a company headquartered in Tampa and Texas, specializes in restoring power to cell phone towers so that people can have much needed communication during these tough times. Gripping steering wheels instead of rods, several local fishing guides headed north with their big trucks to transport fuel tanks to thousands of cell sites.
It really puts things in perspective when you drive down what used to be beautiful beachfront property that now looks like a child knocked over his pick-up sticks. You watch families and their children carrying everything they own and stack it on the curb, and they are no different than the neighbor beside them. Instead of fighting each other in traffic jams, people are fighting for water, warmth, food and fuel. Gas had to be rationed by even and odd numbers by license plate, creating lines of vehicles for miles, and lines of people with gas cans for blocks. Imagine coming home tomorrow, and everything you have, from the family pet, the family car, to your home, is no longer there… and what is left, is wrecked beyond repair. Houses with no other option but to be gutted – the walls, the floors, the insulation, the furniture, personal belongings – all taken to the streets and put in piles. The dumps aren’t filled with leftover dinner and garbage, but are piled up with what used to be known as normal life. Immersed in the destruction, it becomes apparent how all too often we take for granted everyday luxuries.
These fishing guides returned to their Southwest Florida homes with a renewed appreciation for the simple things in life. They may have missed out on family time, hunting the rut, and some great fishing, but that’s what you do when there is a greater calling. So we encourage y’all to take the time to help others, even when it means sometimes neglecting your own, and the hobbies you enjoy, for the greater good.
To the guys n gals that came along on this ride, we would like to thank you for your support, your friendship, and your service: Capt. Bo Johnson, Capt. Mat Haag, Capt. Brian Ball, Capt. Rhett Morris, Capt. Ryan McGee, Capt. Ronnie Jones, Capt. Artie Price, Capt. Bruce Morris, Capt. Tom Fisher, and Capt. Nick “Gator” McGraw. Also a special thank you Lee and Judy Hancock with Scorpion Airboats, which gave us the ability to reach sites unreachable by truck.
~ Capt. Bo Johnson & First Mate Deidra