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Hookers receive funds, make donation to PIE

February 21, 2018
By ED FRANKS ( , Pine Island Eagle

The Matlacha Hookers held its monthly meeting last Monday night at the American Legion and more than 100 Hookers were present.

Recent Mariner president Wayne Reed, along with several former Mariners, announced the closing of the Matlacha Mariner organization by presenting a "closeout" check for $30,000 to the Matlacha Hookers. The same check was presented at Bert's last week.

Bernard Johnson, the first Mariner president of the Mariners, and owner of Bert's, detailed the origination of the Hookers.

Article Photos

Principal Steve Hook and PIE teachers accept a check from the Matlacha Hookers.


"What I remember is there was a lot of domestic violence here on these islands," Johnson said. "We had a big problem with the net ban and other domestic problems and Nancy Goodwin and several of her friends put together the Matlacha Hookers to protect these women who were victims of domestic violence. That was how the Hookers were started and it was such a great thing."

Once the Hookers were established, Deb Cole decided there would be an ongoing need to raise funds and numerous events were scheduled. Many of the Hookers' husbands were called upon to assist with these events and three years later the men decided to form their own organization to help the Hookers.

"These startup events went from raising a few dollars to raising tens of thousands," Johnson said. "Then when Lee County schools defunded Pine Island Elementary's music and arts programs, the Matlacha Hookers stepped in to raise the money that saved those programs."

The Mariners introduced several events of their own, including the Seafood Festival, Mullet Toss and the Blues Festival.

"Over the years we've raised and presented a lot of money for the Hookers' scholarship program," secretary Wayne Reed said. "There was a meeting in December where we decided to dissolve the Mariners because of lack of interest and membership over the last two years."

"The Mariners have mainly been focused on benefitting the area's youth, seniors and others in need," Reed said. "Sadly there aren't enough of the younger men that are willing to participate. We're down to just a few members and that's not enough to put on these fundraisers."

In other business, the Matlacha Hookers presented Pine Island Elementary school teachers and staff with a check for $13,000. The funds were raised from the annual fishing tournament in November. Principal Steve Hook accepted the check.

Since 2015, a portion of the funds raised from the Pine Island Fishing Tournament have been set aside to allow teachers and staff to apply for Educational Grants.

"What a great thing you all do," Hook said. "I was thinking about this today. You are like a fine orchestra each of you in your own right is a special instrument and when you all get together you're a symphony. Thank you very much from all of us at Pine Island Elementary."



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