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.