Saving the Everglades is good for the soul. You meet great Floridians along the way.

What makes a great Floridian?

A few questions come to mind when we ponder what constitutes a great Floridian. Should they have been born in Florida? Does the number of generations of their family in Florida score them extra points? Should they be a household name?

Of course, a person can be any or all the above to qualify. But the real answer to all three is simply: No.

We are all too often bombarded with business leaders and politicians rattling off their third or fifth generation Floridian creds, as if sticking around in a state is inherently virtuous. The true measure cannot be time, but what you have done for Florida with your time.

Today, we share recent news stories that highlight two great Floridians. Neither were born here. It is likely many Floridians don’t know who they are. But unlike the sugar barons we know all too well, these two are leaving a wonderful mark on the place we call home.

Porter Goss

Yale. U.S. Army, 2nd Lt. CIA agent. First mayor of Sanibel. Congressman. CIA Director. Husband. Father. Father to Chauncey Goss (another great Floridian!). Grandfather. Conservationist. Organic farmer. Born in Connecticut. Porter Goss is a real deal, Florida superhero. One of our favorite journalists, Craig Pitman, does all of us a great service telling his version of the Porter Goss story in his latest article, How the CIA Took Over a Florida Island. *Craig is officially a great Floridian, falling into the category of “takes one to know one.”

Elisabeth DeLuca

“Florida’s wild side and for those whose hearts palpitate with it are benefactors of a turn in destiny.” In the greatest turn of events, a landowner’s failed attempt at a new city – ironically slated to be named “Destiny” – that lies at the gateway to Yeehaw Junction, has become a great gift for all Floridians. Twenty-seven thousand acres of wildlands between Central and South Florida were given a second chance for conservation when Elisabeth DeLuca, widow of Subway founder and billionaire Fred DeLuca, recently and with little fanfare gifted that land to the University of Florida to be used solely for conservation.

SUPERHERO SUNDAY

How the CIA Took Over a Florida Island | Crime Reads 

If the headline doesn’t grab you, maybe this will: “By contrast, three of the county commissioners who had opposed the Sanibel incorporation were busted for, among other things, taking a boat ride with prostitutes, courtesy of the county’s sewer contractor. The contractor was himself acquitted of bribery, but later convicted of stealing $1.7 million from a public highway project.”

Last stand for Florida wildlands | Orlando Sentinel special report

“The sparing of the former Destiny is profound. It no longer promises a beachhead for development. Its new path points to ecological stability. A single person, Elisabeth DeLuca, may have steered Florida’s land use as few have.

Today, from amid its pine forests, when swaddled in boondocks blackness, meteors and the brassy flickers of raccoon eyes, it’s easy to imagine the billionaire massing bulldozers. With surprising grace and a dash of only-in-Florida, the 27,000 acres were spared from development.”

EVERGLADES CALL TO ACTION

A revolution of thinking must occur in our state, not with pitchforks, but with every lawmaker concerned about our water and our waterways. From the quality of our water to the quantity and the directional flow of water, protecting our most important resource is the pressing issue of our time.

Only the Florida Legislature can fix the majority of what ails our waterways. Now is a good time to let them hear from you. 


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.