Spotlight on Grown up Islanders: Tim Shevlin
Tim Shevlin was born on Pine Island after his parents met and fell in love on Fort Myers Beach. Shortly after they married, his parents bought some land that would become Tim’s home. Most of his early childhood memories consist of playing among the fruit trees outside and riding his bike through the neighborhood with his sisters.
“Those are probably some of the best memories I have of my childhood,” said Shevlin. “It’s what’s made me into what I like today.”
Being allowed to thrive in nature has had a deeply rooted influence on Shevlin, as he said it likely shaped his life-long beliefs about nutrition, which have become a major part of his business life as well. He explained, like most islanders, that growing up here was very rural, offering him a great deal of memories like safely riding his bike down to the marina in Pineland to fish off the docks. Another of his favorite hobbies, he said, was building elaborate forts in the woods.
“They weren’t just little forts,” said Shevlin, “they were huge, like log cabins with tunnel systems.”
He credits much of the cloistered atmosphere of the island with who he has become, saying that he likes who he is today. Although the family had property covering 4 acres, Shevlin admits he had meager beginnings, in a house, he said, was essentially one room. Once he was approximately 5 years old, his father, along with some friends, built the house they would live in until Shevlin was 12. During his youth, he recalls the family picking fresh fruits and vegetables right out of the yard to eat.
“Growing up that way gave me a good work ethic,” said Shevlin. “It taught me a good value system as far as learning to take what you have and make the best of it. We ate what we had out of necessity, because we couldn’t afford much more, but as it turns out, nutritionally, that’s a better way to do it.”
Helping people to make better choices and stay away from processed foods has become a big part of Shevlin’s life, both personally and in business. The health industry is leaning toward eating fresh for health, which is something growing up as an islander taught Shevlin with hardly any effort.
In addition to spending a great deal of time with his grandparents, Shevlin said watching people getting their boats in and out of Pineland Marina was often a source of entertainment for he and his friends.
“It was not the high quality boat ramp it is today,” said Shevlin. “My friends and I would watch people trying to pull their boats out and they’d get stuck in the potholes. The trucks would be squealing and trying to pull out – it was actually quite humorous.”
The reason Shevlin thinks the community is so close, he said, can be easily attributed to adversity. He recalls the commercial net ban being something of great magnitude, which caused a divide, in his opinion. Since then, however, everything from tragic car accidents to Hurricane Charley have served to draw islanders toward one another in unity.
“The Beacon of Hope was developed after Charley and when something like that happens, the community always comes together and works to make it better. I think that kind of community involvement is why Pine Island Elementary School is so great. People who come out to a place like Pine Island are not coming here because they want to buy things, they’re coming here because they like the small community – because there aren’t many places left like this. It draws the kind of person that’s going to want to help.”
Something people may not know about Shevlin is that he is in recovery for addiction. Unlike many other people, he says he doesn’t mind talking about it and admits it’s a very important part of his journey. Helping people battle an issue with overeating when trying to lose weight, he said is something he’s familiar with, in that it’s merely another form of addiction.
“The drug addiction has really helped me more than just about anything,” said Shevlin, speaking on his career helping people. “My history with addiction helps me to better understand and empathize with people dealing with that sort of thing, because I know how hard it can be to quit something you’re addicted to … they just chose a different route than I did.”
Shevlin also recently got certified by the Titleist Performance Institute (T.P.I.) feeling that it’s important to add the growing industries of golf and tennis to his existing expertise. He plans to continue getting certifications in golf in order to evaluate his client’s limitations in the sport to help them perfect their swing, as he explains that a serious golfer would only train with a TPI certified trainer.
To people who are moving here or just visiting, Shevlin said, “slow down and take a deep breath. Try to take it all in because Pine Island is a very special place.”