Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Jack - UPDATE


OK, UPDATE ON JACK SEPTEMBER 28.

*********and note to all of you who have so generously donated Money, goods and services, We will not let the generosity of so many go for naught. We will ask for input from those who donated, if he still refuses to move in the RV after he gets the tricycle, if that day comes, as to how to proceed. Thank you.********

REGARDING THE PSYCHOLOGIST. Jack will notgo to a psychologist. I have not visited him 100 times. It has taken a 100 times to locate him maybe 10 times. ***
I just saw Jack at Winn Dixie, I gave him the bike lock, RV key, all on a lanyard, the contact information at the Cart place that he goes by every day to pick up his bike when ready. I've done all that is humanly possible.

And, one more thing, we have a builder willing to build and install feeder stations in the mangroves away from the highway, too high for raccoons to get on...stainless steel poles, and pvc on the rest, and watering stations. All concerns Jack had that we offered a solution to.

He knows the cats are not going to be captured and killed when he leaves the bridge. Many of the cats he feeds don't even live under there. He feeds cats behind the shopping center and in several locations on the way to the bridge.

But, today, this is his concern, not the trike, now that he has been handed the key, on a lanyard with a 15' stainless steel cable, and told where the bike will be for him to pick up, not the RV which he has a key to, not the distance, no, today it is the cats getting trapped and killed, which is not going to happen.

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I have made at least 100 trips to Winn Dixie/Dillons over the past 6 weeks trying to find Jack. I have kept him apprised of every single step taken to ensure his safety and shelter in his new home.

This morning, I just left him a letter in a zip lock bag nailed to his box stack in the cart by Dillons.

I told him where he could pick up the Bike, when it's ready it's on his route. Bob at Islamorada Golf Carts, near Payfair, that Jack goes by on every feeding, graciously agreed to assemble it and teach Jack how to ride it. And, as you know Casey Highland , at no charge, was willing to install all the LED lights. THE BIKE WAS SHIPPED OVER A WEEK AGO VIA TRUCK AND IS BEING DELIVERED TO ISLAMORADA GOLF CARTS . JACK CAN HAVE IT WHEN IT GETS THERE, PROBABLY MONDAY OR TUESDAY. I WILL POST ON THE PAGE WHEN THIS OCCURS.

Islamorada Carts
90280 Overseas Hwy at MM 90Tavernier, FL 33070
(305) 852-4201

THE RV, $2800 HAS BEEN PAID FOR IN FULL OVER TWO WEEKS AND SET UP AND READY TO GO FOR THE SAME AMOUNT OF TIME.

On Monday, September 15, 2014 7:08 AM, "omegastores@comcast.net" <omegastores@comcast.net> wrote:

Dear Rhonda :

This email is to confirm that we have received your order for our electric tricycle.

Your Order Number: 1409153004CET
Product: $1,394.50 Electric Tricycle
PowerBooster: $289.50
Extended warranty: $75.00
Cover: $68.50
Tax: $116.04
Shipping: $0.00
Total: $1,943.54

I still believe that in giving him the bike prior to him having done one single thing he has promised to do over the past month is an exercize in futility. I pray I am wrong and that he will not just take the bike and never move in the RV and end up right back where he started when the bike is destroyed under the bridge.AND THE DOT WILL NO LONGER LET HIM LIVE THERE SOON AS THEY KNOW HE HAS A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE.

He had promised, once I took him to the set up RV, rent paid, utilities paid and on, RV stocked with every conceivable thing he could need, that he would start training the cats gradually over the next 2 weeks to eat and be fed elsewhere. HE HAS MADE NO EFFORT TO DO THIS.

I have shown him all the household goods and clothing that so many of you have generously donated to him, every time I picked them up at Bill's Liquor and tried to get him to go with me to put away in his RV. HE REFUSED EVERY SINGLE TIME.

I TOOK HIM THERE ONCE, HE STAYED TEN MINUTES AND HAS REFUSED TO GO BACK.

I gave him a copy of the Give Forward fundraiser where I showed him and left him a copy of the unbelievably generous donations of over $5,000 by so many of you to purchase the RV, and the Tricycle.

He had promised to work with Caring for Cats to get the cats neutered and re-located. HE REFUSES NOW TO DO THIS.

He promised, again, per the above paragraph, to go through all the bags of trash and possessions under the bridge and get to the outside so the garbage men could pick up and he would be left with just what he wanted to take to the RV, and I agreed to help him sanitize those contents before actually putting in the RV. HE HAS MADE NO EFFORT TO DO THIS.

So, many of you on here seems to think he just needs the electric tricycle and then all will be good.

So, he will have the trike. We hope and pray you are all right.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Jack Enslow ~UPDATE~


Jack Update. Noon 9/23/2014

******* With regard to the bike. We are not giving him a $2000 bike to live under an unsafe, filthy bridge. And the electric bike he wanted so badly would be destroyed in a week if dragged down to the bridge every day. If we give him the bike at Winn Dixie, while still living under the bridge, we fear he will take it straight to the bridge and it will be destroyed in no time.. The DOT will not allow him to live under the bridge much longer as he now has a viable, real alternative that was set up to Jack's specific desires. If you could see the filthy, excrement filled place he lives you would want him out as well.

Many of you suggested trapping the cats and taking to the RV park. Would your neighbors want 100 feral cats dumped in their neighborhood?

This is a complex matter. If/ when Jack is ready to go home he knows how to get in touch with me.

*********** If that does not occur in a reasonable amount of time there are plenty of people who would appreciate that lovely place to live.********

"I have tried everything to get him to go and live in his RV. For a week and a half he has one excuse or another. He says a cat has scabies and he has to constantly monitor, or it's been raining and he's behind on his feedings, or it's the weekend and there are people around the bridge that hate cats.

I rode all up and down the road the past two days from 4 in the morning until 11 at night trying to get him out of this weather.

I finally saw him this morning at Winn Dixie and he won't go home today either. Now, the excuse is he's behind feeding the cats. I offered to transport him to do this and then take him home. He refused. I offered to come get him at 6 tonight anywhere he said and he refused that. I offered to bring him back anytime he wants to come back from the RV. He said that wouldn't work.

He says he's waiting on the tricycle even though I live 100 yards from him and have offered to bring him to Winn Dixie any time of the day or night. The tricycle was custom built, is paid for, is built and is on the way.

His neighbor Robin has a car and has offered the same until the tricycle gets here. History tells me even when the trike arrives later this week, there will be another excuse.

I don't know what to do other than begin to look for someone else who would live in and appreciate the RV. We have worked tirelessly to purchase it, have it delivered to the site, have it set up, painted the inside, stocked it with all of your generous gifts.

I got him to go there one time for 10 minutes, He will not go back no matter what I offer him in the way of getting back to Winn Dixie, etc.

What are your thoughts, especially those of you who have so generously given to his fund. I'm heartsick and have just worried about Jack until I am about worried out.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Jack Update


JACK UPDATE

We are moving Jack in Monday afternoon. He needed a little time to gather his things, get ahead feeding his beloved cats. We hope his bike will be here by the end of the week, it's ordered. In the meantime we have a group who will make sure he is able to feed his cats.

It's a big transition for him and we'd appreciate all your prayers. He's going to be so well situated. The laundry room is even adjacent to his RV site.

We are continuing to take donations at Bill's Liquors/ Tavernier Town Center: Size large sweat pants and sweatshirts are needed, if anyone has any reflective gear that'd be great for night feeding, size large. And food. His freezer is up and running and fridge. Cereal, canned fruits, canned meats, canned soups would be great! Crackers, cookies.

It will be a few weeks before his VA benefits kick in and it took all of the very generous donations to buy the RV and the Bike.

We have left the GiveForward site up for one more week if it is easier for any of you who wish to help to just donate money and we will take Jack grocery shopping and clothes shopping and get the rest of the things he needs.

Thank you all so much again. Jack is beyond thankful.

https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/95l5/jack-s-house

1. The trailer was $2800
2. The bike with the extra power booster, warranty and lithium batter upgrade and baskets, horn, lights was $2100 + tax.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Bill Beaver - Marathon


“I am homeless. I don’t smoke, drink, or take dope, nothing negative whatsoever. I have a pretty good reputation and everyone here knows me and the cops leave me alone.

In Ft. Lauderdale I was making $32.60/hr. Excellent money. I was operating heavy equipment. I wasn’t happy cause I had to work with drug and dope addicts. It was a bad situation. I asked a cop if I had the chance to go to jail being around all this stuff, even though I didn’t do any of it and he told me there was always that chance, so I quit, came down to my favorite place in the Keys and ended up being homeless. I don’t regret the decision. I went for happiness over money. It was worth it.

You have to go for the positive, never the negative. I had to teach myself that, it doesn’t just come to you. Growing up, everything around me was negative. I went hitch hiking in Canada by myself once, and I met my maker. Imagine that, in the middle of the wilderness in Canada I met my maker!

I hang out at the tree behind the store here and I meet a lot of people. I don’t know why I am meeting them, you wouldn’t believe it. I thought it would be a bunch of drunks and dope addicts but it hasn’t been that way whatsoever. I meet people from all walks of life and from all over the world actually.

My life’s dream is to go to Oregon. I am from Pennsylvania. I want to go see the Oregon State Beavers play, because my last name is Beaver. That makes sense, right? “ He laughed. “ I always wanted to go over there, so I am sitting here in my dream and I am thinking how am I going to get to Oregon from here? I am thinking do I bike, do I hitch hike? Do I get a job then go in my pickup truck? I had it made before. I would work for 10 months and travel for 2.

I don’t have to be in this position. I could go back to Ft. Lauderdale or Miami and work, but I love it down here. It’s your choice how you want to live your life.

The biggest lesson I have learned is everything positive, nothing negative. Usually, whatever happens, there is something you can get out of it. What you do is take the good out of whatever happens and you forget the rest. The only thing that matters is the positive.”

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Jack Raymond Enslow, Jr.



~Jack Raymond Enslow, Jr. ~ Born 8/31/1940, Chicago, Illinois, Marine, Shopkeeper, Machinist, Fisherman, Feeder of Feral Cats~

Note: I went to find Jack yesterday and remind him about our appointment with the VA Monday at 3:30 and how a program they had would pay his lot rent.

I sat with Jack over 2 hours yesterday explaining how his life was about to change with the little trailer and a bike with a cart, that so many of you have so generously contributed to. I asked him how it all started. I asked him how he ended up under the Tavernier Bridge for 18 years.

(With a little more help from you, the Humans of the Keys, Jack can leave the bridge this week.
https://www.giveforward.com/fundraiser/95l5/jack-s-house )

As his story unfolded, the Jack we see today slipped away, and in his place was a young Marine, honorably discharged, following his dream to be a commercial fisherman...in the Florida Keys. This is Jack's story in his own words.

________________________________________________

" I don't have any family left, but after the Marine Corp, my Dad was still alive and I helped in with his business on the coast in South Florida. He and my mother had left Chicago and opened a kind of junk business. We had a store front and everything. I also worked on boats during this time and did some fishing.

My Dad died and the business dried up and then my Mom was gone. There was no money. My Dad had brought me to the Florida Keys for the first time 59 years ago. I never forgot all the fish houses and commercial boats that were everywhere back then.

Then I was back down here to ride on the Spiegel Grove when I was still a Marine and things were heating up in Russia and the President formed this huge flotilla of Navy vessels to let Kruschev know we would fight if necessary. Navy vessels are used to transport Marines and I was one of those Marines. It was then that I received my first back injury, slipping off a ladder on the Spiegel Grove. But, I just lived with the pain and went on. The Spiegel Grove as you probably know is the largest vessel ever sank on purpose to form a reef. It is sunk right down here.

Anyway, when everything went bad, I decided to walk and hitch to Key West and see if I could get a start up boat and be a commercial fisherman. I thought I could work for a boat. I got down there and soon realized that most of the fish houses were gone and condos and hotels and bars were about all that was down there. Stock Island still had a ton of lobster boats and such but they were owned by Cubans and I couldn't get hired on or anything. I was shocked that the fish houses were gone so I couldn't get a boat from one of them and start fishing. That had been my plan.

So, I walked to Marathon and found a couple of fish houses but with no money and no contacts down here I still couldn't get anyone to front me on a start up boat and start fishing for a fish house.

I had been down here about 10 days by this time and I was just sleeping where I could and eating what I could find. I didn't think it would last long and I would be fishing.

Finally I walked up here. Again, I looked for fish houses and boats and again there was nothing for me. So, I was just really disappointed and a little scared and I started figuring out a way to get back up the East Coast where I came from. I planned to leave the next day.

I was sitting on the Keys Taxi bench in front of this shopping center. There weren't any benches around the shopping center at that time. Ted's Taxi bench was in front of CVS that was Eckerds back then. That was 18 years ago.

I sat on that bench all night and watched cats, some with little tiny kittens, foraging all around the shopping center for whatever they could find to eat. I got up and started going through the dumpsters and trash cans to find what I could for them and I fed them. I still remember how they all gathered around me that night, with their eyes shining in the darkness, looking up at me, so thankful. I had been pretty much alone for days and now I wasn't.

I don't remember why I didn't just start walking north the next day. I just remember that a day or two later these two ladies came out of the restaurant at the shopping center one night and I was sitting in the parking lot and the cats had gathered around me and one of the ladies said, "Oh, look at all those cats and kittens. They look hungry, we should get them some food. I told them if they would give me $5.00 I would go buy the food and feed them. And, that's how it all began.

I've had odd jobs off and on in the early days, but, feeding the cats took so much time, I didn't have time to get a job to feed myself. I never went to the VA because I didn't think they would help me. I had food stamps a time or two, but, again, I didn't have time to mess with that because it took all my time to feed the cats. It's really big job. People don't understand. You have to have different groups of cats at different places at different times or the coons would destroy everything.

At first I slept in the ditch at night, right across the highway there. It always had a little water under it and if I slept under the water some, the mosquitoes weren't quite so bad. But, one night, I heard the mosquito plane overhead and it sounded like semi trucks were about to run over me in the ditch. I didn't know it was a plane at the time. The next day I moved under the bridge. 18 years ago.

I remember people would bring their kids to the parking lot at night to catch a kitten for them. The cats have always been here. Back then the mangroves were still full of water so the raccoons didn't attack me and the cats like they do now. They had plenty of food in the mangroves, shrimp, fish, lobster and such.

I know a lot of people think I'm crazy to live under a bridge and feed all those cats. I know they think I'm a bum. I'm not a bum, I work over 100 hours a week feeding close to 100 cats. It's a huge job, a huge commitment. Most people my age couldn't do it. I have to haul all that food and water and it's heavy.

I have to barricade myself off under the bridge to sleep for a few hours. If I don't the coons take everything from me. When I feed the cats I have to give them something off to the side to the raccoons so the cats can eat or the coons would run them off and eat it all..

It's hot under the bridge and noisy and once and for all, NO, I do not like living there. It's just the only place I had. I'd cook under there some time like spaghetti or something, but, I had to eat it right away or it would go bad, plus the smells would drive the raccoons crazy.

I try to imagine how it will be to walk in that trailer at night and lock the door and cook supper and take a shower. I try to imagine sleeping in a real bed with air conditioning and waking up and making a cup of coffee and cooking breakfast before I go to start feeding the cats and all. When I get to my trailer, I'll be done with the cats and all. When I get to the bridge at night, I still have to work a couple of hours just to make it safe to sleep. If I don't bundle everything up and mask the smell and barricade myself off, the raccoons will be all over everything and me while I sleep.

The last couple of nights I have dreamed about it, locking that door, no cats, no raccoons, a bed, safe and all.

As bad as it's been, it's all been worth it. Those cats are always so happy to see me. They are so hungry and when I feed them, they look at me with such happiness. And, no matter how tired I am or how hot it is, it is all worth it. It's all been worth it.

I don't expect you or anyone to really understand, but, it's all worth it. They are God's creatures, just like you and me.

I'll see you tomorrow at 3 to go the VA. Nobody knows how much I thank all you people for everything you are doing."