To the editor:
I am truly blessed to live among the most special people in this world.
On Thursday May 29, "J9," Janine Laporta, died from a very short-lived illness. She had only come home the Saturday before. We had planned a benefit to assist with her transport, medical and living needs, truly expecting her to be around for at least a few weeks. Obviously that did not happen.
On Saturday June 8, we held the benefit and the memorial service was added. It was a hot sultry day. There were tears, stories, laughs and all of Matlacha & Pine Island. If not all then certainly most! It was a beautiful day shared by family and friends to say "Later" to one of our own.
Thank you Pastor Heidi, Pine Island Community Church, for a beautiful and real eulogy! This could not happen without help from several people: Cindy Tolliver from Trader's for organizing baskets and donations, Debbie Hoyst for gathering donations, William from CW Fudge Factory for putting all the baskets together, Carolyn Scharnberger for baskets and hugs, PICC for the baskets and stuff, Nancy Goodwin for assisting Cindy in her endeavors, Samantha and Mitch for donating and roasting the hog and Lisa and Darryl Dence and The Old Fish House Marina for organizing, providing the space, the staff, and the love! There are many, many more people I could mention but this would go on for days!
There are some people and organizations that went above and beyond that I would like to give special recognition and thanks to: Pine Island Community Church (donation and assistance); The Matlacha Mariners (tables, man power, donation and support); Carl Christianson, Sea Isle Resort, for the live web cam; Alea Sky for the painting, and Jim Normandin, who bought it and donated it to J9's granddaughter, Pat Salyer, and sister, Rose, for the hard work, sweat and tears; and The Matlacha Hookers (Tina, Billy, Nancy, Cindy especially).
John Skorupski (prior owner of the Old Fish House) and both Mary Anne and Steven Konkowski (sister and brother-in-law of J9) for their most generous donation.
Liz (Modern Woodmen Financial) matched the donation from Bernard (Bert's Bar & Grille) to cover the cost of Coral Ridge Funeral Home.
All of the bands that came to play and pay tribute to J9, one of our own: Jeff Walker (Sticky's Revenge), Molly Brown, Jason Bonham and Kenny Craig (Bonham528), Kenny Cox, Rick and Danette Russell (Stringtown), Adam Mac (Gator Moon), Michael Mahn, Butch Gay, Jimmy Doyle, Scotty Player, Renee Hose, Cathy Eagle, Deb Biela, Nick Longobardi and band (Deb & The Dynamics). I hope I got you all!
I am so very proud to call Matlacha/Pine Island home. There had to have been at least 800 people who came to show their love and support. The live web cam had viewers from all over including our mates in England! We will continue our mission of caring for each other, taking care of our community, taking care of our own; no one to be left behind.
One last special mention for Beverly Dobbins and Daniel (Dog) Dobbins: without your support none of this could have happened, J9 couldn't have come home. You never ask why, you just give that look, say OK, what's next. I love you both.