Now that I write full time for The Island Sand Paper, many island residents are asking my colleagues the same question – Who is Gary Mooney?
First off, I am not a reclamation project from the Witness Relocation Program!
Actually, I fell in love with Fort Myers Beach in February 1988, when my parents first brought me here on vacation. Right after experiencing my initial fabulous sunset that Presidents’ Day Weekend, I told my folks that one day I would live in Southwest Florida! Our annual visits dramatically increased in the mid-1990’s when my retired Mom and Stepdad acquired their Fort Myers Beach “candominium” mobile home, then I bought my own house in 2003 before relocating full time in 2013.
Right around the time I purchased my house, I also discovered The Island Sand Paper, and immediately informed family and friends that one day I would work for “the funky little weekly newspaper on the beach!”
I have Associates and Masters Degrees in History, and was a university level history instructor before serving first as the historian then public information assistant for a major metropolitan park district. I spent three years as director of communications and marketing for the nation’s first presidential center, before becoming director of a small suburban park system for 16 years prior to retiring to Southwest Florida in 2013.
After spending my first six months golfing and laying on the beach, I founded The Write Stuff, freelancing for, among others, a major medical publication, an on-line sustainability magazine, and since the 1st of this year, The Island Sand Paper before becoming full-time on October 1. I have never been married, nor have children, meaning the communities I serve tend to become my family. I am most definitely a “glass is half-full” person who does not understand how others make it through life grumpy and unsmiling, and can often be heard humming a happy tune.
While I am the “new kid,” my time on Fort Myers Beach precedes the roadway-less layout of Times Square, the construction of the DiamondHead Resort & Spa, the founding of Lynn Hall and Bowditch Parks, the acquisition of the Mound House, the building of the top floor of the Lani Kai Island Resort, the devastation caused by Hurricane Charley, and even the start of the Town of Fort Myers Beach, making me New & Old all at the same time!
You will see me everywhere, so please introduce yourself, but I warn you I am sadly terrible with names, so if it takes me two or three times to place your face with your name, I apologize upfront and ask for your patience.
See You On The Beach!