HURRICANE IAN UPDATE: The Fishing Captain Who’s Feeding Thousands Per Day
What a wild two weeks it’s been since Hurricane Ian hit.
A big portion of our employees got hit pretty hard including one who lives on a canal in Port Charlotte, Sarasota, and even Pat up in South Carolina who was right in the path of the second landfall (who was evacuated to a hotel).
Many of us had damage to our properties and were without power for many days.
Sadly, even our brand new office in Winter Haven had the roof completely lifted off about 6-inches which caused some horrific water damage. The blessing in disguise is that we were just about to start renovations and none of our tackle or inventory was in the new place yet. So although it’s about an extra $40,000 of expenses to clean up (that insurance won’t cover), we’re still blessed to have homes to go back to.
This brings me to SW Florida…
The devastation we’re seeing in places like Ft. Myers, Sanibel, Matlacha, Pine Island, Bokeelia, and Port Charlotte is unlike anything the state of Florida has seen in a really long time. The amount of loss is tough to fathom and the pictures don’t even do it justice to just how bad it is.
One of our employees, Richard Thomas, who was an officer in the Army (and spent a big chunk of his time in helicopters), volunteered to go down on a special mission to do search and rescue. He’s armed (to protect against looters) and he’s reported back that what he’s seen can only be compared to what he saw in combat (including dead bodies, etc). We’ll get Richard on the podcast to share more when he gets back from his volunteer mission down there.
There is also a special fishing captain who lives in Port Charlotte that needs to be recognized for everything that he’s doing to help others. Plus, this selfless captain needs our help.
Capt. Brett Cox (The Cook Who Never Stops Giving)
Capt. Brett Cox has been feeding people for as long as I’ve known him.
If you’ve ever been to a Salt Strong event, the chances are good that you saw Brett behind the grill making things happen. He’s the big guy who’s always smiling and chatting it up with everyone.
But his story of feeding people goes incredibly deep.
In fact, Brett Cox has been donating his time, money, and food to feed people for the past 26 years. It’s something he feels like he’s been called to do (plus, he’s one heck of a cook).
For 26 years, Brett has left his house to serve in hurricane-hit areas to feed anyone who needs a warm meal (most of the time, on his own dime).
In a sentence, when a hurricane hits, Brett packs up with his friends in the Cooking Cajun Army and starts feeding thousands per day.
This Time Brett’s Home Was Hit Hard (And Now He Needs Help)
This hurricane was a bit different.
You see, Brett lives in Port Charlotte, and Hurricane Ian did some severe damage to his place. It was the first time his very own home had been in near the center of the direct hit.
However, before Brett could even pick up the endless debris, ripped pool screens, and aluminum from his own backyard, he left to go feed others.
While most of us started working on repairing our own properties, Brett selflessly put others first. It will probably be 20 days of serving others before he can attend to his own damaged property.
And for the last 10 days, Brett has been in the middle of the worst hit-areas feeding others (thousands of people per day).
In fact, when Ron Desantis came to visit the area late last week, Ron asked the Cajun Army who had the record for serving the most meals…
Everyone told Desantis that it was none other than Brett Cox.
Brett told me it was certainly an energy boost to have Ron Desantis come track him down after he hadn’t slept or showered in days.
Brett also let me know that he was in a tough spot…
Brett’s Text Message (HELP)
Here is a text that Brett sent me (he gave me permission to post this after I asked him):
Joe, I need help. This is the first time in my life I’ve ever had to ask for this kind of help as I’m usually the one delivering the help.
I’m not a rich man and it didn’t help that I just recently exhausted all of my money into brand new flooring throughout the house so that we could get a better response on selling it. We had a purchase agreement just before the hurricane and the guy just pulled out right after the hurricane. Now we have all of this damage and no money to fix it – which means I won’t be able to sell it. I also lost many many thousands of dollars in fishing supplies, music supplies, and all of my Disaster Assistance supplies that insurance does not take care of.
I never asked for anything as my pride is far too big, but I need any assistance you can give. I serve far too much to ever think that I would have to have it back. Giving (Food ) is what I do. Apparently, it’s what I was put on Earth to do.
I appreciate you guys so much. Take care of yourselves, take care of your neighbors. And may God bless you. Thank you for any help you can give.
Guys, I realize there are a bunch of people who need help (and a bunch of non-profits you can donate to who are making an impact).
But if you feel called to help out Brett (like we did), here are his personal accounts to send money.
Brett, we appreciate you and everyone who’s sacrificing their time to help those in the wake of this hurricane.
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