Dusty Thomas’s Wish is Granted

Over the years Jose and Raymarine worked together on the development of new products, and in January of this year Raymarine showed their support to the Foundation. They donated $5,000, and over $17,000 worth of product that raised $15,000. I have worked closely with Raymarine on several different projects, as well as Dusty’s wish to fish in the Florida Keys. Larry Rencken VP of Sales set us up with Mary Lewis of Main Attraction Charters. The family drove all the way down from Jacksonville. After a long ride they checked into Hawks Cay, and explored the grounds, and went snorkeling off of Marathon.

Dusty, his girlfriend Shelby, step-father Larry, mother Heather, Captain Marty Lewis, first mate Mike, and myself met up at Key Colony Marina. We fished two days, and both days they brought back some of the best eating fishing the Keys has to offer. Dusty landed a monster mahi, groupers, and a personal favorite of mine (and now his) mutton snappers. Marty did an amazing job setting them up for success, and many times everyone was hooked up all at once. Mike showed us that if you keep mahi in saltwater brine they keep their color better, so later on it makes posing for a picture a lot easier.

After they wrapped up fishing I brought them down to Dolphin Research Center. Dusty’s mom Heather was practically in tears (happy tears) when she met the dolphin in the picture AJ. Two other dolphins Aleta, and Merina had given birth to their baby girls two months before. If you visit the Keys, and have never been to DRC it is a must. It is very different than most marine mammal facilities. Their primary focuses are education, and research. It’s not about which dolphins jump the highest, or swims the fastest. It’s more about the dolphins as individuals, and why it is so important to keep our oceans clean. Dusty said he was surprised on how each dolphin had its own personality, and at DRC they encourage the dolphins to be creative and interact with the crowd on their own terms.

On every trip we take with our kids or Veterans I learn something new. In the beginning stages of the Foundation I wanted us to be one of the biggest out in the fishing community. While we were out on the water Dusty’s mom and I had some very personal conversations…About our families, about loosing the ones we love, about life. One thing that she said changed my outlook on what is really important with the Foundation. She told me that the fishing, snorkeling, and dolphins were all amazing, but the best thing about this trip was the friendships that were made. Over the years they had worked with several organizations, but not one came close to the personal touch that came with their trip down to the Keys. “It’s like we’re family now.”

Always remembering the words of wisdom from my father one that stuck out was “Its better to do less, and do it well.” What became very obvious to me after this trip is that everything the Foundation does has the Spanish Fly personal touch. It is important for our kids, and Veterans know why we formed this organization.   As our Spanish Fly family grows, it is my hope that companies like Raymarine, and the people involved will continue to do it for Jose.


2 Responses

  1. Timothy Lee Noble
    Timothy Lee Noble September 24, 2014 at 11:40 pm |

    I am a 30 year disabled veteran. My first disability was for diabetes and had a successful career for 26 years after being disabled. 3 years ago I was diagnosed with stage 4 tonsil cancer. It has been a horrific 3 year fight. I am recovering from my second reoccurrence where they had to remove 3/4 of my tongue and reconstruct it with 24 inches of muscle from my thigh. I am now finally in remission and would love to do some of the things I have not been able to do because of the damage the chemo and radiation has done to my body. I am retired navy and miss the sea more than you can imagine. I would love to have an opportunity to have a chance to be back on the water fishing the Keys. I have 2 boys ages 14 abd 7 that I have not been able to be much of a father to during this fight and would a bonding experience with. The older boy I have fished with in the past but the younger one has never experienced, or remembers me teaching him the importance and enjoyment of the ocean and outdoors. Would it be possible for me to be given a trip that we could aqll experience together? I don’t know how long or if I will have another occurrence but if I do I am not sure I would survive it. I can no longer eat except with use of my permanent feeding tube. I knew going into the second surgery that I would never be able to swallow food, as well as talk, breath without a traceotomy, drink, and possibly not survive the surgery…it was 171/2 hours and took 6 surgeons to remove and rebuild all they had to remove. Today I am able to speak but hard to understand, I breath thru my normal airway and am able to drink clear liquids by mouth which has been a blessing from God. being on social security disability gets me by month to month but I have not and can not save enough money to even take them on a real vacation. It makes me feel a failure to my boys. I can make a donation as I have been able to save a few dollars a month if that would help. I used to love watching Jose’s shows and am a member of the foundation and would give as much as possible to his organization. I am not good at asking for something for nothing but I have no other means available

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