Just about a week after the 2020 #FishForJose weekend, it became alarmingly clear that life as we knew it was about to change. Over the past year, new words, new phrases and new things have become a part of our everyday lives and conversations.
So, we needed to change also. In prior years, on that first weekend in March we held 3 different events: A Kickoff Party at the Square Grouper, the Backyard Dinner and last but not least the Wrap Party at Tony Murphy’s Saltwater Angler. With social distancing, travel restrictions, masking and more, we made the decision to hold just the dinner, limiting the guest capacity and making it a “Mask-arade” Party. For those who could not make it we held a #FishForJose social media picture contest, which was a real hit, especially for longtime fan, Mark, who won a pair of Jose Costa Sunglasses.
“I feel very fortunate to be able to have my son watch Spanish Fly reruns today and have him learn what our great sport is really about! I’m so sorry he’s gone but, he’s truly a legend.”
Looking back over the last few years, I have never witnessed our country so divided. I do know, without question that our mission brings all of us together. Each of us shares a love for the outdoors, fishing, and of course, for Jose. All of us together have kept and will continue to keep honoring Jose’s legacy by matching his passion for conservation, education, and making fishing dreams come true for those in need.
Both the Board and I are deeply grateful for your continued support for our foundation. I feel honestly that our Board as well as all of you have made me a stronger person and I thank you for that. Sharing time on the water with foundation recipients has exposed me to people from all walks of life. Hearing their stories has a way of putting things into perspective about what is really important and what really has value. Your HEALTH and TIME. Two things that no amount of money can buy.
Adopting COVID protocol from Make-A-Wish, we did our first post-COVID Foundation trip back in December, for a beautiful family – the Arringtons. Jennifer was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer weeks after finding out she was pregnant. She was refused treatment because she was pregnant and refused to terminate her pregnancy. To have to even think about “In order for me to live, I
have to make a choice to terminate a very wanted pregnancy” is a thought that is incomprehensible to imagine. After a long search, she found a doctor willing to do it…and Braden is now 4 years old.
“For one-week cancer was NOT a dark cloud weighing over me. Instead, this week felt like a breath of fresh as I watched my family laugh and truly live life to the fullest. My cancer journey isn’t over, but I feel refreshed. This was the best trip I’ve ever been on. Words will never do justice to how thankful we are for this wonderful experience.”
Thankful… In saying that, I need to thank Dale and Susie Emerick once again for their generous donation to our cause. As our top donor, the Emericks have fully supported the work of this Foundation and their advice and wisdom is appreciated more than you know.
Jack Carlson from Two Conchs Charters brought his extra fishy entourage selling out the event. Along with being our newest advisory member Jack brings unrelenting helpful energy that we so appreciate. Thank you, Jack!
Thank you to all our gift donors who have contributed items for our auctions over and over again…we are so grateful for you all. Your belief in our mission enables us to perform this work, and we are deeply grateful for your partnership.
During the pandemic, we made the decision to support food drives, as well as local community emergency organizations helping those in need navigate these troubled waters. While we slowly creep closer to normalcy (whatever that mean), we have cautiously begun doing local trips again. We continue our partnership with Wesley House working with the children that are referred to us. Many of these kids are born and are being raised in the Keys with limited opportunities to enjoy the water. It is my hope that we can continue to offer these local kiddos chances to enjoy the water and hopefully give them the opportunity to have that spark light the fishing flame.