Meet the Humans of the Keys

Meet the Humans of the Keys

Thursday, February 25, 2016

Tania Mattson


Hi Everyone!
My name is Tania Mattson. Some of you know me as Tania Cooper, well, those of you who grew up with me! I was born at Miami Baptist and came to the Keys in the late 70's when my Dad bought the old Summerland Key Marina that sat on the bayside of the South end of the Niles Channel bridge. My Mother was Rosie from Rosie's Unisex Hair Salon on Big Pine. I graduated from Key West High c/o 92- GO CONCHS!
My story is not like everyone else's. I lived a great life here in the Keys and after high school I moved to Colorado for a year. I moved back to the Keys and went back to work at the beer distributor that used to be on Big Pine. After 3 years, I up and moved to Vegas. I followed a guy out there (dumb!). Well, I ended that relationship and ended up marrying a man in the Air Force. We were married for 6 years and he gave me a smart, handsome, talented Son - Tyler. We eventually split up and Tyler and I went on to live our lives. I was working as a Craps dealer at the Wynn Casino. I loved that job!!
My Mother eventually grew sick and the economy turned bad. I had started to prepare for our move because of my Mother; I wanted to be closer to her.
Well, in Nov of 2009, I found an old friend from high school on Facebook. In the midst of our conversations I asked about my now husband. Chris was a friend and his Mother owned a Pawn Shop next to my Mothers hair salon, so we had known each other growing up...we also used to sit together on the school bus in high school. Barb told me that he was also on Facebook so I found him and got in touch! Come Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 and Chris and I spent the weekend in Tuscon. He was in New Mexico for his job and we connected that weekend and as they say the rest is history!
We moved back to the Keys in Feb of 2010 and I am thankful that I did. I lost my Mother in April of 2010 to her Alzheimer's. I was able to pack our things and drive to Tennessee to be with her in her last days.
Chris and I got married this same year in October on Founders Park Beach and it was a gorgeous sunset ceremony!
With there being no casino's here in the Keys, I had to look for another line of work. I took a job at Made 2 Order and worked there for a year. I eventually went back to school and received my AA in Criminal Justice from Keiser University. After I finished there I then attended the Basic Law Enforcement Academy at FKCC at Coral Shores. I wanted to work for FWC.
I tried a total of 5 times to get on with them and after making it to the interview process and being told by the Captain out of Miami that I should work for a different department, I decided to pursue another route in life. I applied and got a job as a Concierge at the new Amara Cay Resort. After being there for 9 months I chose to go part time and take the guest shuttle driver position. I love being there and I love all of my fellow employees and my General Manager! We are one big happy family there! I also decided to go back to school and pursue a career as a Nail Technician.
I love that I will now be able to help our community with having beautiful hands and nails and am looking forward to starting that career, but I don't plan on giving up my shuttle job and Amara family...it's something I really love!!
I love being back here in the Keys and I love that my Son gets to go to a great high school at Coral Shores and grow up with great friends and a great community supporting him. Tyler gets to do many things like sports and Sheriffs Explorers that he probably would not have been able to do with me working at night. I am thankful that I am back and living in our beautiful little paradise!

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Izabella Hernandez - 14 Years Old


Izabella Hernandez –14 Years Old
(HOK: I recently spent most of a day with Izabella Hernandez, a 14 year old girl with a mission to change the world. We began the morning at Key Largo School, where she read to a class of fifth grade kids. Before starting the book, she did a brief talk about her project and the up-coming cleanup event on February 27. I was amazed to see the excitement from the kids. Many of them had already signed up to participate in the cleanup. We later moved to Made To Order Restaurant for our interview, and lunch. Made To Order is one of Izabella’s generous sponsors, and will be providing the location and snacks for the after party following the cleanup, as well as sponsoring the radio advertising and live broadcast on SUN FM.)

Izabella: “My mission is to clean up the world and make it a better place for the future. We kids did not create the litter problem. But this is our world and our future…so it’s up to us to fix it.
I’ve been doing videos for See My Beach for years. One day we were doing a video shoot out on Indian Key. My cameraman told me to move to the left because there was litter in the shot; then he told me to move a little more to the left because there was more litter in the shot. The next day, I called him up and said, “Instead of moving to not show the litter, why don’t we start cleaning it up?” That’s when I started Help End All Litter, a non-profit dedicated to cleaning up litter all over the world.
I want to be doing this my whole life. I want to make a difference in the world and I hope other kids will join me. We want to inspire kids all over the world to start doing what I am doing, wherever they are. I think of it like boy scouts or girl scouts, where different troops all over the world take it into their own hands and start working to clean up litter. We will provide them with their own website on HelpEndAllLitter.org., and we’ll help get them off their feet and get them started cleaning up the world.
We have local sponsors, and we are so thankful for them. But now we have our first corporate sponsor, Hard Rock Café. It’s really great, because they aren’t just sponsoring this event, or any single event. They said they want to be with me for as long as I am doing this. A life time sponsor! They are providing t-shirts, and they are doing something really cool. They are giving me a pin! My very own pin that will be sold at Hard Rock Cafés and on-line and the proceeds will go to Help End All Litter. It’s being designed now.
My first cleanup event will be Saturday, February 27, here in the Keys. Kids will gather at the Lorelei in Islamorada on Saturday morning and local trolleys will transport us all to the different cleanup locations. Sheriff Rick Ramsey has volunteered to have deputies on every trolley so the kids will be safe. Ashley Lawrence from Animal Planet’s ‘Gator Boys’ will be here helping us out. I met her a few years ago. She’s very involved with the environment and in her community, and we’re happy to have her down here helping out. You can sign up on-line at www.HelpEndAllLitter.org, or email me at Izabella@helpendalllitter.org. All kids must have a signed form, because we will be filming and streaming the event. After the cleanup, the trolleys will bring everybody to Made To Order for an after party. They will be providing snacks and Sub Zero will provide ice cream. It will be fun.
When I’m not making videos, picking up litter or talking about picking up litter, I am involved in a lot of different things. I go to school, of course; I also have my Hospitality & Tourism Club, I’m active in Drama Club, and Culinary Club. I love cooking! I might even want to study to be a chef one day! But, my primary life-long mission is to motivate and inspire people to get involved in cleaning up litter all over the world, and making a difference for our future. You don’t have to wait for an organized event to clean up trash. Make it a habit to clean up litter every day, wherever you are. Just picking up one piece of trash every day will make a difference.
I hope to see a lot of people on Saturday morning, February 27. Be sure and go to our website for the sign up form at www.HelpEndAllLitter.org, and come help me clean up the Keys and start cleaning up the world!”

Monday, February 22, 2016

Dillon Mathews, 5 years old, with dad, Dan



Dillon: “My grandma Babi is my dad’s mom. Daddy, how did Babi get to heaven?”

Dan: “She flew to heaven with her angel wings.”

Dillon: “If you’re really in big trouble, Babi will fly down to help you.”

Friday, February 19, 2016

The Matthew’s Family; Dan, Gemma, Daniel, Dillon, and Delaney - Key Largo


Gemma: “I came over to the States when I was 18; I was doing an internship with Leeds University in England and part of my internship required a year working in the States. I worked on Mackinaw Island for a season, then we came down to work at Ocean Reef for a season. I worked as a transportation coordinator.
After a season at Ocean Reef, I went back to Michigan. My girlfriend and I then went on a road trip for a month. We traveled all over the States; took everything we had made, rented a car, and took off, Thelma and Louise style! It was awesome!
I then went back home to England and graduated. I had been invited back to be a transportation coordinator on Ocean Reef, and that is when I met Dan. I met Dan at CJ’s during happy hour after a couple of Captain Morgan’s! The rest, as they say, is history.
Right after meeting Dan, I returned home then moved to Spain and worked over there for a while as a resort Rep; after about 6 months I returned home after my Grandparents became sick and I was running a small café in England. I ended up coming back to the Keys on vacation and never went home! Dan and I decided to get married and start this incredible journey and I went back to work on the Reef. We are celebrating our 10th wedding anniversary in March and finally having a proper ceremony in April.”
Dan: “We got married in the courthouse. She just got her first proper wedding ring also! We have guests coming from all over the world; Prague, England, Spain.”
Dillon: “My friends and cousins who live far from me are gunna be here too!”
Gemma: “We adopted Daniel about 8 years ago, and then Dillon came along almost 5 years ago, and Delaney joined us last May.”
Dan: “I moved to Key Largo about 15 years ago. After graduating I drove from Texas to visit my cousin Shaun Matthews, who was a fishing captain. During my first visit, he introduced me to a boat I would come to own ten years later. I now operate ‘Miss Chief’ Fishing Charters out of the Key Largo Fisheries Marina. We are truly blessed to live in a place that has given us so many opportunities for success and happiness!
Gemma: “I love it here, by the water and with the warmer climate. It’s where I want to be. You go to the bar and you know your bartender; they have your drink ready for you when you sit down. We have a million friends down here, who all come together whenever someone is in need. I love the community down here, and it’s about one of the safest places you can be with kids. I go to the grocery store and spend a half an hour just talking to all the people I know.”

Saturday, February 13, 2016

John McKinna, Key Largo **RIP**


HOK: Our little community has taken some more big hits lately.
RIP John McKinna. He will be missed. We offer our condolences and deepest sympathy for his wife, Teresa.
From Teresa McKinna: “Our dear friends, I want you all to know that John passed with dignity and was in no pain. But for 2 nights. I was with him for the whole 17 days we tried to get him back on his feet. He was not alone and I was there until the end. I know he loves each and every one of you and so do I for the love you gave back. As per Johns wishes, there will be no viewing or service. I will plan a celebration of life and will make sure the information is out there so you will have time to plan. Your posts, phone calls and emails have kept me strong.”
"Every man’s life ends the same way. It is only the details of how he lived and how he died that distinguish one man from another.”
-Ernest Hemingway
Here are a few of the things people have to say about John:
“John was not only a fine musician, but also a sailor, commercial diver/welder, oil well firefighter and best-selling author. He was a professional musician for forty years. He played lead guitar, bass guitar, banjo, drums and flute. During what he described as his classic rock period, he played with three bands from 1974 to 1982. The bands toured throughout the Northeast and Midwest US as well as Canada. The group produced eight albums during that time. After coming to the Keys in 1999, John played with some of the local greats including Jimmy and Debbie Hawkins, Steve Vinini, Grateful Ted, Luke Sommer Glenn, and Scott Youngberg just to name a few.”
“John McKinna was Operations Manager/Technical Supervisor, responsible for all systems relating to the upkeep and underwater management of the Jules’ Undersea Lodge habitat. He served in that capacity since 2002, and along with his wife Teresa was one-half of the team that kept JUL/KLUP operating safely and effectively well into the 21st century. A former offshore oilfield commercial diver with a 20-year career in deep-gas diving, focusing on construction and repair of oil production and drilling platforms worldwide, his skills and experience made him ideally suited to manage the unique requirements of the world’s only remaining operational habitat from the Golden Age of Diving of the 1960s and early 70s. John was also an internationally published author, with six bestselling novels to his credit, including popular diving thrillers and WWII historical novels. He and wife Teresa were year-round residents of Key Largo and enjoyed spearfishing, snorkeling, diving, sailing, and kayaking whenever their busy schedules would permit.”
“Author, Artist, musician, soldier, son, husband...and too many more to mention.....one of the most brilliant and interesting men I have had the pleasure to know. I am going to miss your provocative and informational FB postings. Who's going to play Jethro Tull for us? I'll miss your wicked sense of humor hiding under your genuine kindness. A truly authentic old soul. Gone too soon. “
“It is with pleasure, that I remember the details of the times I have spent with John and listening to him play. Whether it was about music, or history, writing or politics, he spoke with knowledge, wisdom, passion and honor. He was a true gentleman, with a devilish smirk, a wry wit, and a heart of gold. He had my back when I needed it the most, and always gave an encouraging word. I will miss you my friend, but I know this is not the end of the journey. I can still hear your voice, your music and feel your presence.”
John described himself as “just a regular guy.” I found this on his Facebook page, listed as his favorite quote:
“Nothing in the world can take the place of Persistence
Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with Talent
Genius will not; unrewarded Genius is almost a proverb
Education will not; the world is full of Educated Derelicts
Persistence and Determination alone are omnipotent.”
- Calvin Coolidge
 

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Tiki Fiorentino, Islamorada --PART 3--


In 1992, Hurricane Andrew came through Kendall at 200 miles per hour. In the week that preceded the landfall of Andrew, there was much work to do, so many preparations to be made. I called on old and good friends to help with the "battening down of the hatches" to make the house safe for the family. Mom and dad, my brother Joe, grandma and I spent one horrific night waiting out the storm. When the dust settled there was a lot of work to do. Once again, friends were called upon to help. During that time, I became close with a man I had dated years earlier, back in Tavernier. In April, 1993 the next love of my life, my second child Shaylin, was born; a dark haired cherub with piercing green eyes. And quiet…this child was so serene.
I continued working at the doctor's office but missed the island life and longed to return to the Keys. Frequent trips to visit mom and dad just made the trek back north to Dade County harder every time. When my grandma died on my birthday, December 24, 1998, I decided to make the move back south to the Keys; back to my island and to the waters that I missed so much. Shannon was in high school now at New World School of the Arts in Downtown Miami and a difficult decision was made to let her finish out her schooling there, living with her father in Dade County, while Shaylin (6) and I returned to the Keys.
So, it was 1999 and I was bartending at the most wonderful place in the world, Papa Joes, and life was good. I really enjoyed working there. I made some great friends there and had great customers who frequented the outside bar. I enjoyed the banter and especially the stories from the Bud N Mary's fishermen, who wandered over for an afternoon libation. They had the best stories of all. After work I could sit and watch the boats come and go, and the sunsets were always magnificent. Occasionally, Shaylin and I would fish from the docks there and catch our dinner; sometimes we would catch shark and tarpon too. It was always fun. It was a sad day in 2006 when the doors closed at Papa Joes. For a couple months after I would get out of bed in the morning and not know quite what to do.
At a friend's urging I decided to go back to school and this time I got my USCG Captains license. It was a hard test but I passed. I was doing part time bartending at Lorelei, and working as a Captain with Kelly Klein and her "Two Chicks Charters" business for extra money. Working on the water was a dream come true; being out on the water again every day, showing little kids how to catch a fish, and seeing the joy on their faces when that little light comes on in their eyes that you've seen a thousand times in your own. You know they will love to fish and catch fish for life!
I found Island Grill in 2008 and worked there until August 2014. I also worked 3 days a week at Mariners Hospital, in Cardiac telemetry (ICU) for a while. I hated it. Between the hospital and some hard lessons in my personal life, I was a broken soul.
But, I couldn't be happier right now!!! I'm so proud of my two children Shannon (31) and Shaylin (22.) They have both grown to be caring, giving, loving individuals. I also am a proud Grandma! Shannon and her husband Richard Trezona have two awesome little dudes, Elijah (9) and Asher (5.)
I spend my days mostly gardening now and gazing into the water behind our home. I grow vegetables, herbs, and now have fruit trees I've planted from seed that are becoming mature. My little dog Jiggy is the only baby around now, spoiled rotten. He loves getting on the paddle board with me, boating, and riding in the Jeep. I also keep busy with volunteering at the Moose Lodge and the Sons of Italy Club. Along with others, I am often called upon to orchestrate local benefits for those in need. 

Next is that I am engaged to be married to an incredible man, who helped fix my broken soul, Salvatore (Ted) D'Esposito, whom I've known for more than 35 years! Ted and I first met long ago through my old room-mate, Rhonda, when I was just a kid of 16 living on a sailboat down the docks on Bimini Row...... It’s funny how it all comes back to PARADISE.




Thursday, February 4, 2016

Bill and Jan Wang, Islamorada


Bill: We’ve been in the Keys ten years. We had been coming down for many years and when I got an early retirement offer we decided that if we didn’t make the move then we never would. We were living in San Diego; Titusville before that and Michigan before that. I had a pretty good run with my career. I got involved in computers when we were still doing punch cards. I’ve been into computers since 1969, back when they were huge. I’ve seen the computer technology change a lot.
Jan: He had a very interesting career.
Bill: I got involved in some new stuff back then. It wasn’t cutting edge, but not something that was being used a lot yet. One day I got a call from a brand new account that was working at Kennedy Space Center. They had just taken over writing some new software after the Challenger accident, and they were using some of the stuff that I was working with. So they asked if I could come down and help out. We went down for the winter of 88, 89 and 90, then went down for the winter of 91 and stayed; we moved to Titusville. So I was involved with the Shuttle program for over 3 years. It was exciting. We got to watch a lot of launches, up pretty close.
Jan: Three miles from the launch pad, as close as you can get! It was pretty exciting!
Bill: Not long after we got there was the first flight after the Challenger accident. It was early morning; we had to be there at some ungodly hour, like 2 or 3 in the morning. They opened it up for car passes, and we had this mass of traffic going in to watch it. We went out and parked and watched the launch across the river from the launch pad.
Jan: That launch was an emotional event. Everybody cried. If you’ve never been that close to a launch, you don’t realize that when the shuttle fires off you can literally see the sound wave coming across the water. And, then when it hits you, your whole body starts shaking from it. It’s something like you’ve never felt.
Bill: I got to go up into Discovery and sit in the pilot’s seat once. I also went out when it was on the launch pad, and crawled up in it. Probably not things we were supposed to do. But we had a friend who knew everybody and we could get anywhere!
Jan: They also did family days. So we got to go out and do stuff that normal people can’t go out and do. I got to touch the nose of Columbia! We had so many opportunities. We were very fortunate. Now days with the security, we probably couldn’t do what we did back then.
Bill: Those were great years. I’m sorry it didn’t last longer. But we did an awful lot in the time we were there. But, that contract ended when the project was completed. Then I got a call from this computer manufacturing company in San Diego. They were also using the same software and were looking for somebody who knew it already. So that’s what took us out there.
Jan: I loved my job in Titusville. I worked at the day care on the base. And we had the cutest little house. It was hard to move out to San Diego. I actually stayed there for a year and a half after Bill moved out there just to make sure he would like the job and want to stay out there.
Bill: I worked at that job for about 5 years. When that account ended, I got a call to work on a military account. So I ended up my career working for the navy; that’s where I retired from.
Jan: We love music and got involved in the music scene out there. We did house concerts for three years. That was very enjoyable. We were some of the first people to do house concerts out there. There were just so many great musicians and so few venues for them to play. We wanted to give them somewhere to play. And we had fun with it.
Bill: We thought about moving back to the Titusville or Merritt Island area when we left California. If we had gone to that area, we could have bought something on the water. But we decided we wanted to live in the Keys. We’ve been coming down every year since 1997. We would stay over there at the Key Lanter/Blue Fin, come over here to Lorelei to listen to Billy, and then drive down to Key West for the weekend. So, when we started looking for a place to live, we always came back to Islamorada.
Jan: We have a nice little niche going right here.
Bill: We do get taken care of when we’re out. If we have a favorite place up here in the upper Keys, it would be Lorelei. We come here a lot. Those 2 bar stools down there on the end are “our seats.” One time we had called Jerry, the bartender, and told him we were going to be late. When we got here, there were place settings on the bar at our seats. So, we thought somebody was sitting there already. When he saw us starting to sit somewhere else, he said, “Sit down, those are your seats!” He had saved them for us! That made us feel good.
Jan: People ask why we get treated so special. I say because we treat them special.
Bill: If you are patient and respectful and take care of your bartenders and servers, they will take care of you.
Jan: And we love the music scene down here too.
Bill: It’s funny, in San Diego there weren’t many venues doing music so you had to really look for somewhere to go. Down here, it’s just the opposite problem; there are so many great places with great musicians it’s hard to choose where to go. We would have to be in three places or more a night to see everybody we wanted to most nights. It’s hard to choose. We try to hit everybody at different times.
Jan: We also go to Key West a lot for music. We like going to see music down there because we get to see so many different acts; so many good musicians go down there. We’re not part of the Parrot Heads anymore, but we still like to go down when they are in town because of all the musicians that come along and perform. And we do the Songwriters Festival down there. Billy and Cindy Davidson went down with us and we got them hooked. Now we all go every year.
I grew up in a musical family. Our son has a band up in Michigan. Music just came naturally for him. He started playing saxophone in 5th grade, then guitar and keyboard. He would just sit in his room and make music. I can’t tell you how many guitars he has now. When his band first started they were a KISS cover band. He was Ace Freely.
Bill: He plays lead guitar and he’s really good.
Jan: He took lessons from my uncle and ended up learning more than my uncle ever knew. Of course when he plays at home, the dog is on one side and the kids on the other side!
We love our grand-kids. Our oldest came down to visit recently and brought his girlfriend. He said they wanted to do something fun! Visiting the grandparents was doing something fun! How about that?!
Bill: They had a great time. We did everything! And then we took them to Key West and closed the bars.
Jan: I’m sure they had fun going home and telling that story!
Bill: I think people are very lucky to live down here. If you are able to live down here, you should appreciate what you have. Not everybody has the opportunity or the ability to live here.
Jan: I think people need to learn to appreciate what they have because it’s not always going to be here.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Tiki Fiorentino, Islamorada --PART 2--


When I was 14, I got a job at Plantation Yacht Harbor, bussing tables. My mom worked there in the lounge, so when I got out of school in the afternoon, I would get in my boat, fly through the bay to PYH, work till about 9:00 pm, then get back in my boat and skate back home in much the same way. I knew the backwaters like the back of my hand. Most "Conch Kids" did. Later, at 15, I would work at the original Marker 88 Restaurant for Andre Mueller. He was a tough employer, but a great teacher, and there I learned to prep many of his fine dishes and made 6-8 Key Lime pies and 125 Key Lime baked Alaska’s each day! I still know those recipes…..
It was 1979 and I was getting fed up with the high school clique thing, so I found out when the next GED test was being given. On that day, I skipped school, took the test, and then went about my life as usual for the next few months. Then one day a letter arrived, addressed to me. It was my results from Tallahassee. I had passed and I never went back to Coral Shores High School.
I was 16 and out of high school. A friend from work, Rhonda Smith, decided to buy and live on a sailboat. We made the journey to Key West to purchase and sail her north, and so "The Witchy Woman" had her new home, and so did we, down the docks on Bimini Row behind the Original Tiki Bar at Holiday Isle. PARADISE.
Every morning my roommate Rhonda and I would awaken to the sweet smell of banana bread freshly baking. Miss Marty Quann had a tiny bakery on Bimini Row called "The Lovin' Dough." She made the sweetest breads, muffins, and the best conch fritters west of the Bahamas. We would jump into the sea to bathe, then hose off on the dock with fresh water. We used the bathroom at the bar for our own facilities. Rhonda tended to the resorts aviary during the day, sometimes I helped her clean and feed the many parrots there on the property. We would sun and swim during the afternoon, and roam the docks talking to the fishermen about the day's catch; we usually ended up with a nice filet for our dinner. By night we both worked at the restaurant with several other friends. After work, depending on the time of the year, we would walk next door to HOJO's for either cold ice cream, or hot clam chowder. Then back down the docks to Bimini Row to the little yellow sailboat called "Witchy Women." Our PARADISE.
That was my life for over 2 years. In 1981 I got a different job working just north of Tavernier at a bar called Jimbo's. It was very different and a bit scary.... My friend Rhonda had sold her boat the "Witchy Woman" and had moved back to Maryland. So I lived, again, with my parents. I wasn't crazy about it, and I don't think they were crazy about me working till 4am. Jimbo's was owned by the Burgin family at that time and the nightly band there was "The Jim Burgin Band." That's where I met the drummer..... (The man had great rhythm.) It wasn't a long relationship and I found myself to be a single mother of an amazing baby girl in February, 1984. Shannon was always a curious, expressive, bright-eyed, angelic child with amazing white hair.... a true island towhead baby, and the love of my life. Her father was great with her; he took her on weekends and always helped us when we needed it.
Always with my love for the ocean, I took my baby girl across the pond to the Bahamas for the first time when she was only 2 weeks old. That was the first of many crossings for us. We lived with my grandmother in a house my father built in Hammer Point on Aberdeen Court, on the bay, after my grandfather passed. (You know that one thing you regret in your life? For me it was ever leaving that house.) I was always teaching my girl about fishing and ships, but she had a love for mermaids.
As Shannon grew, she became an amazing artist; this tiny child could draw anything! Mermaids were her forte’. However, she was having difficulty reading, and I was advised to enroll her in a MAGNET program. But the trouble was, there were none of those available here in the keys back then. So, I said, “Dade County here I come!!!” I lived in a house my parents owned in Kendall and enrolled her into the MAGNET program. She blossomed academically, and her artistic abilities got even more amazing.
I was still caring for grandma who just couldn't come to terms with ATM's; she thought I was robbing a bank or a store every time I utilized one. "You're gonna get caught one of these days," she'd say. It was her Alzheimer's that ultimately prompted me to study medicine. I found a school near my daughters, enrolled myself and attended classes; ultimately ending up with an Associates of Science Degree in Cardiovascular (CVT), X-Ray Tech certificate, and Lab Tech certificate. I was promptly placed with a local physician, Dr. Oscar Hernandez, and pretty much ran his back office. I did most of the diagnostic work myself and assisted him with other procedures. I was always learning new things and getting more certifications, and I loved it!