We all enjoy the privilege of living in a pretty amazing place. A place that draws thousands of visitors every year, willing to spend their 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…

Volunteers of the  Monofilament Madness and New Year’s Day Beach Clean-up and all beach clean up efforts. Locally our FMB Community Foundation spearheads several clean up efforts throughout the year.

The winners of the 30th Annual Sand Sculpting Championship Awards. Watching the creation of sand art is almost as much fun as seeing the finished product.

The volunteers and donors who work together to make Christmas happen for local families. The toy drives and fundraisers take a lot of time and effort, but the result is well worth it.

Likewise those who remember to donate food to keep food pantry shelves full.

Surfers for Autism volunteers who devote their time to give some pretty special kids an amazing day on the water.

The local and seasonal volunteers who make our area’s many free nature walks possible, from the Moon Walk in Matanzas Pass Preserve to the Barrier Island Ramble in Bowditch Point Park. There’s at least one free walk each weekday available and volunteers make it possible.

Rae Ann Wessel and the Sanibel Captiva Conservation Foundation for their ongoing efforts to provide solid science-based education on our local water issues.

The artists of Paint the Beach for sharing their amazing talents with us all.

The celebrity pancake flippers, organizers, donors and all those who made the Fish Tale Marina fundraiser for Beach Elementary School possible.

Lorrie Wolf for her 15 years of service on the Beach Library Board.

The Friends of the Mound House for hosting two successful fundraisers (a play, “If These Walls Could Talk” and a Christmas luncheon) to support Mound House education efforts.

The boat captains and decorating crews who delight us all with their entries in the Christmas Boat parade each year.

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

Estero Bay Aquatic Preserve on turning 50 years old! We should be proud of the fact that the very first Florida Aquatic Preserve sits in our back yard.

Bud Nocera for his service to the Fort Myers Beach business community as President of the Fort Myers Beach Chamber of Commerce. Happy Retirement!

Those willing to plant dune vegetation to help preserve our beach sand.

The members of the Estero Island Historic Society for offering free monthly speakers to share the history of Fort Myers Beach. Next one is 7pm Monday, Jan 9 at the Beach Library.

Jacki Liszak for taking on the Beach Chamber of Commerce President role.

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. Plus the Town Council members who voted to release funds for support services for New Year’s Eve.

The bike riders who participate in the monthly Groves RV Park Wounded Warrior bike rides supporting veterans.

Joanne Shamp, selected to fill an open 3-month term on Town Council. Her years of service to the Local Planning Agency were recognized by the LPA at their December meeting.

The Estero Island Garden Club for their tree decorating expertise in the Beach Library this holiday season. Also the art students of Beach Elementary who contributed unique ornaments and helped decorate a library tree.

The Fort Myers Beach Art Association on turning 65 years old, offering a free art gallery plus a variety of art classes and workshops each year, not to mention scholarships and hosting Paint the Beach Plein Air Art Festival.

All those who decorated their homes for the holidays with exterior lights that we could all enjoy.

The cupcake ladies of the Town’s birthday celebration in Time Square for their devotion to sharing a treat with over 1,000 people each New Year’s Eve.

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