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Pine Island Cares benefit raises over $10,000

Funds, supplies to be given to residents of Everglades City, Chockoloskee

October 18, 2017
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

Several Pine Island organizations joined forces at Ragged Ass Saloon Saturday to assist fellow barrier islands Everglades City and Chockoloskee with hurricane relief following Hurricane Irma. The benefit raised more than $10,000.

"As you know, we dodged a bullet here on Pine Island and Matlacha," Jim Frock, owner of Seven Seas Bait and Tackle, said. "But our sister islands of Everglades City and Chockoloskee weren't so lucky. They were devastated by the wind, rains and storm surge. A benefit seemed like a good idea."

Pastor Heidi Grueser and Pine Island Community Church offered the church as a drop-off location and several other island businesses helped raise funds with 50/50 raffles, silent auctions, fishing charters and other things.

Article Photos

'Braille Blues Daddy' Bryan Lee performing at the 'Pine Island Cares' benefit at the Ragged Ass Saloon.


"Thanks to the advance article in the Eagle we've been collecting items people need for more than a week now," Frock said. "One of the drop-off locations was at Pine Island Community Church and people have dropped off nonperishable food items, clothing, bedding, towels, toiletry items, water, cleaning supplies, bug spray, sunscreen and buckets."

Several bands volunteered their services for most of the day for the benefit.

"We have some of Southwest Florida's premier bands here today," Frock said. "We have the 2012 Blues Music Award winner for bassist Biscuit Miller that's Biscuit Miller and the Mix, as well as Bryan Lee and the Six Strings Therapy Band. Islanders will remember Bryan Lee as 'Braille Blues Daddy.' We also have Knee Deep, Mark Appleby and Friends,

and Deep Fried. I can't thank these musicians and bands that are helping us today."

Last year the Ragged Ass Saloon was purchased by Peter Ennis, Nick Ruland and John Shields.

"We knew when we purchased the restaurant we wanted to be involved with this wonderful community," Ennis said. "So when Jim approached us we were happy to provide Ragged Ass Saloon for such a worthy cause."

Benefit volunteer and relatively new Matlacha resident Dawn Raymond became a permanent resident of Matlacha last year. "My husband and I actually moved to Matlacha 2 years ago but became permanent last year," Raymond said. "After Hurricane Irma I felt so fortunate that we had a house to come back to, I said to a neighbor that I feel like I should reach out and help others who lost their homes. Then Jim suggested doing a benefit.

"I wanted to see first hand the damages so I drove down to Everglades City and Chockoloskee," Raymond said. "Once I got on the island I noticed at first there was a lot of debris like we have here but the more drove into it I began to notice the debris contained furniture, appliances, mattresses, clothing and I knew that these people lost their homes and belongings. Some of these mounds of debris were 20 feet tall.

"I met Dottie Joiner, the city clerk of Everglades City, and she agreed to assist us with the distribution of everything," Raymond said.

"We really want the supplies and the money to get to the people who need it the most so although Ms. Joiner isn't helping us in an official capacity her help is greatly needed."

"We identified with Everglades City and Chockoloskee because they are both fishing islands," Frock said. "They have lots of families that make their living fishing. So this is an example of fellow islanders sending help to fellow islanders. We started the event with $6,000 and we finished with $10,000 and we're still counting. This is a very giving community - the people of Pine Island have huge hearts."



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