We all enjoy 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 venues that hosted Island Hopper Songwriter Fest performances and the performers who brought a lot of outstanding songwriters into our midst.

The Fire District staff for their efforts during Fire Prevention Week, including their visits to Beach School, letting students handle fire hoses and safety equipment.

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

Those who participated in Patriot Day, 9-11, remembering those who we lost that day.

Jeff & Tim Malbon, winners of the Best Tourism Boss Award at the annual Elaine “E” McLaughlin Outstanding Hospitality Service Awards Ceremony last month, hosted by the Lee County Visitor & Convention Bureau.

Fort Myers Beach Fire District Battalion Chief Tom Grow, Captain Terry Brunson, Engineer Andres Vila and Firefighters Darwin Adams, Billy Galewski and Oscar Gonzalez on winning the E Awards Good Samarian Award for their efforts to assist a young boy on a Make-A-Wish adventure to the beach.

Fillet and Release sponsors, anglers and host, Matanzas on the Bay for the most successful event ever, raising $36,000 for Hope Hospice!

Volunteers of Coastal Clean-up Day and all beach clean up efforts.

Those that are running for election on the November 8th ballot. It takes courage to put yourself out there as a candidate.

All the Advisory Board volunteers. With eight boards and 5-7 members on each board, that’s a lot of volunteers. Our Town is better for their efforts.

Business owners, servers and staff who rallied to provide service to our many Hurricane Matthew refugees a couple weekends ago.

CERT volunteers who helped first with Hurricane Hermine in north Florida, and then much closer to home in Estero shelters and in east coast communities after Hurricane Matthew. You do us all proud!

Volunteers for Public Lands Day who helped trim and clean up Lovers Key State Park and other local parks.

Pirates, without them Pirate Fest would not be possible. When Hurricane Matthew cancelled the Tybee Island Pirate Fest, many of the pirates scheduled there, came to our Pirate Fest, making it even more fun.

Goodwill SWFL on turning 50, offering assistance to over 42,000 in 2015.

Fort Myers Beach Film Festival on winning First Place awards in two categories at the SUNsational Awards put on by the Florida Festivals & Events Association.

The businesses and individuals who are taking advantage of the CPR/AED classes offered by the Fort Myers Beach Fire District.

Friends of the Mound House and the Time Square Sunset Celebration on winning Arts & Attractions Awards from the Tourist Development Council to promote the Mound House and the weekend concerts in Time Square.

Lee Health on their new name and their celebration of 100 years of service to the community.

Mound House volunteers, recently recognized for their assistance during the past year.

K-Kids and the entire student body at Beach Elementary for a successful Food Drive.

All the generous and engaged Sand Paper readers who share their great stories and photos with us and our readers. Keep ’em coming!

Beach School PTO, staff and volunteers who make all the after school activities possible for students. From swimming to LEGO construction to the annual play, there’s something for everyone.

All drivers who are extra alert and cautious in our construction zones.

The Fireworks Fundraising Committee and the businesses that continue to raise funds for fireworks for community celebrations. And all the people who attend and support those fundraisers.

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