We all have the privilege of living in a pretty amazing place. A place that draws thousands of visitors every year, willing to spend precious vacation time and money to enjoy just a tiny sliver of what we enjoy every day. Like any community, we have challenges and we write plenty about those. But every couple months or so, we like to use this space to focus on some of the good things happening here and the numerous generous people who make our Island a better place to live, work and play. Kudos go out to…

The organizers of the Friends of Bay Oaks-looking for ways to support and enhance a much loved Island recreation center.

The candidates running for office, the ones actually running and making an effort to get their message out.

Islanders who are doing their part to minimize the number of mosquitos by dumping all standing water in their yards.

Sea Gypsy Inn for holding a fundraiser along with Panama Jack that made their donation to the Beach Kids Foundation possible.

Popeye Dearden for hosting Popeyepalooza VII at the Beach Pub, raising over $4,000 for youth sports.

The Lovers Key State Park staff along with Town Hall staff for their efforts to protect nesting shorebirds.

The beach clean up crews who descended on our beach the day after the 4th of July fireworks and had it looking great by mid-morning-great job!

The Friends of Matanzas Pass Preserve who are working toward an Education Center to provide both children’s and adult programs.

The coaches, volunteers and parents who make Beach Little League and Youth Soccer possible for our beach kids.

All the generous and engaged Sand Paper readers who share their great stories and photos with us and our readers.

Sanibel-Captiva Conservation Foundation natural Resources Director Rae Ann Wessel for her ongoing efforts to inject reason and science into the water quality debate.

All the “Of the Year” award recipients at the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District: Cody Chilson – Firefighter of the Year; Robert Ponte – Paramedic of the Year; Joseph Devito – Officer of the Year and Robyn Schuckert – Community Partner of the Year.

Everyone who has donated blood at any of the recent blood drives in our area. Each donor potentially helps three patients in need of blood.

Island residents who are recycling correctly and helping to decrease the amount of recycling materials that become trash when the wrong stuff is put in the bin.

Gulfshore Grill and the Cottage for holding a benefit for the Orlando Pulse and Fort Myers Club Blu victims.

The Freedom Alliance, Grouper Grapple and Fish Tale Marina for making it possible for 16 veterans to enjoy a great weekend on the water last week.

The 7-Slot Social Club and all Islanders who are making an extra effort to support local businesses during this summer season.

The winners of scholarships and the service clubs who work all year to be able to provide them to our local youth – Kiwanis, Lions, Community Foundation, Beach Kids Foundation.

State Senator Negron for encouraging the purchase of land south of Lake O to begin the process of filtering and moving water south into the Everglades.

First Responders from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Fort Myers Beach Fire District, U.S. Coast Guard and Florida Fish and Wildlife – all ready to help on a moment’s notice and all honored at last weekend’s Community Day held at Fish Tale Marina.

All drivers who are extra careful now that school is in session.

Every person who has volunteered, donated or helped in any way to make our Island home a better place to live, work or play.


Missy Layfield