One of the Best Places in the World

by 24

May is here! And so begins my favorite time of year.  Spring is a wonderful time to live in one of the best places in the world, the Florida Keys. The season is in full swing and we will hopefully have day after beautiful day on the water. More time on the water however means more chances for mishaps. Just being out on the ocean has its share of inherent dangers. No matter how many precautions we take, and how vigilant we are, accidents happen. The Oxford dictionary defines an accident as, “an undesirable or unfortunate happening that occurs unintentionally and usually results in harm, injury, damage, or loss; casualty; mishap: You got that right! Not long ago I was in an accident that granted me a stay in the hospital and kept me out of work for a while. A series of minor events turned a normal day on the water into one I will never forget. I am extremely lucky to have emerged from the accident on the right side of the dirt. The main reason for my wellbeing has to do with one of the greatest places in the world, the Florida Keys - and the people who live here. Sometimes it takes an experience like I had to truly understand how important family, friends and the community are. My client, who was a local, returned me safely to the dock that day. My friends were waiting for me as he pulled my boat up to the marina to drop me off. Two of the most amazing nurses held my hands (I’m sure to hold me down more than for comfort) as the doctor drove a tube into my chest, sans pain medication. During my stay at the hospital there was a constant flow of friends and family making sure I was taken care of. Flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and smiling faces filled the dream-like state I was living. As the recovery process continued so did the support from the community. Fellow guides offered to run my trips for me. The guys at Key West Bait & Tackle had a benefit party to raise money to help with hospital bills. The amount of people who showed up was overwhelming. Other local businesses like Fishmonster Magazine, the Saltwater Angler and the Angling Company kept in contact, making sure I was doing well. Support from The Lower Keys Guides Association, the Guides Trust Foundation and The Spanish Fly Foundation proved invaluable. My doctors and physical therapist have done an amazing job of putting me back together and I am now in working condition. As another season kicks into gear, I want to thank everyone for making such a difficult time so much easier to get through. I am extremely proud to live in one of the best places in the world.  Look out for each other out there and come home safe. ‘MERICA!! Helwig


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