Everglades Lions serve lunch to the attendees. Photos By Jodi Pree
On Saturday, September 30th, Everglades City, also known as the “Stone Crab Capital of the World,” held their annual Blessing of the Fleet. Pastor Bob Wallace of the Everglades Community Church and Father Nguyen of San Marco Catholic Church blessed the six vessels in attendance. Traditionally, an entire day of festivities are held to mark the beginning of Stone Crab Season. This year, however, cleanup and survival took priority over celebrating. Following the blessing, residents and volunteers were treated to a delicious barbecue meal. Those in attendance were very vocal about counting their blessings and having a sense of gratitude.
Darrell Craycraft, part of the cleanup crew, enjoys his barbecue lunch.
“We are so grateful to businesses and individuals who have donated lunch and dinner to our residents and workers since Hurricane Irma devastated our town. Every day, we have served between 200-300 lunches and about 150 dinners. Today, two local entertainers volunteered their time and talent to lift our spirits,” explains Connie Barker of the Everglades Lions. “I was lucky. Damage to our home was minimal. Many residents have lost everything.”
“Only six years ago, we remodeled our church. Our sanctuary was breathtaking. Now, all the floors have had to be ripped out. We know the restoration will cost more than our remodel did. We have a long road of recovery and restoration ahead of us,” explains Pastor Bob Wallace. “We are so thankful to the workers who are helping with cleanup. Their presence here has been such a blessing!”
Pastor Bob and Millie Wallace enjoy lunch after the Blessing.
Boats line up in Everglades City for the Blessing of the Fleet.
A boat receives the pastor’s blessing. Photos by Millie Wallace
Families being fed by the Lions.
Workers taking a lunch break under the pavilion where they’ve been sleeping.
Inset:Everglades Community Church
Sanctuary floors had to be removed due to flood damage.
Ben Olson and JRobert volunteered their time to entertain at the gathering.