After thirteen schools, this was it. Coral Shores High School was the last school I would attend as a military kid. The last time I would be the new kid… and unbeknownst to me, the first time I’d feel like a part of a community.
There was something special about this new place I called home. In all my years, I had never seen a community so welcoming to strangers, making everyone feel like a friend regardless of their background or where they were from.
When the Coast Guard moved my family to the Keys, I thought it was just going to be another pin in the map of places I’ve lived. Yet, somehow, the one year we were stationed in Islamorada is all it took for the Keys to become my home, forging friendships that I still have today, more than thirty-five years later.
After graduation, my family moved once more but I returned on my own only nine months later. I didn’t have the means to settle in and left the Keys after a couple years to find a career that could help build my financial future, but I knew someday I would come back and make the Keys my forever home.
And that’s exactly what I did. Finally, in 2011, I was in a financial position to return home and start my journey.
I came back for good with a plan of opening a business that filled a need in the community, but I didn’t know yet what that would be. I watched, listened, and spoke to everyone I knew to see if my background in marketing could benefit the people and businesses in the area.
Along this journey, my mother was encouraging me to publish a magazine, as she had a very successful coupon book in Northern Florida. Like most sons, I had my own ideas and brushed off hers at first. Thankfully, mothers often know when to be more stubborn than their kids, and this was one of those times.
On her insistence, I presented the idea to friends and local business owners, and they were very receptive. So, I listened to my mama. I figured I’d sell as many ads as I could and if I didn’t sell enough to go to print, we would return everyone’s money. Needless to say, we printed the 1st issue in March 2012.
Now, ten years later, Keys Life Magazine has become a staple in the community. People expect a copy in their mailbox every month, and even through Irma and the pandemic, we’ve never missed an issue.
I share that proudly yet humbly, as we would not have been able to accomplish it without the loyalty of our customers, the support of my community, and the commitment of my team.
I cannot celebrate this decade of success without thanking Dan, Molly, and Teresa for keeping this ship sailing. Their talent and devotion to the magazine deserve more recognition than we have space to give. I also thank Jill, Jerrica, and all of the contributors along the way who helped transform a humble coupon book into a lifestyle magazine.
To my wife, Michelle, you not only deserve many accolades for your dedication and passion for Keys Life Magazine, but also for the patience and unconditional love you have shared with me, in our marriage. I am so grateful for you and our sons, whom I am so proud of.
Lastly, to the Keys community, I thank you for being my home. I could never express my gratitude enough, but I will continue trying to show you through my commitment to highlighting your endeavors through our magazine.
Thank you, my friends, and here’s to another ten years!