Destin convoy: Brothers helping brothers 'because we should'
Taking everything from generators to Gatorade, a group of Destin fishermen and others loaded up in the wee hours of Thursday morning and headed to Louisiana to help those in need after Category 4 Hurricane Ida ravaged the Gulf state.
“We’re doing it because we should. They would do it for us,” said Capt. Travis Ream.
Ream was one of 18 people in a nine-truck convoy of sorts, with two trailers in tow, that headed out Thursday at 3 a.m. to make the haul to Louisiana.
“We know a bunch of people over there … they would do it for us,” said Travis Marlin, who is a deckhand aboard the charter boat Twilight.
Marlin said he had been in contact with Ed Pitre in Golden Meadow, Louisiana, located on Bayou Lafourche just north of Port Fourchon, and said they were in need of help.
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“They are good people down there,” Marlin said.
Golden Meadow is known for its fishing and seafood industry, much like Destin.
So, for the last couple of days, Marlin and others put the word out on Facebook for donations of gas cans, fuel, Gatorade, water, generators, canned food, Clorox wipes, toilet paper and diapers. And the Destin community came through. One donor even dropped off a handful of $100 gift cards.
Missy Schofield of Boathouse Seafood and Oyster Bar offered up the Upper Deck next door as a drop-off spot.
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The group took tarps, tanks of fuel and rolls of plastic for roofs.
“We’re hoping to bring 1,000 pieces of fried chicken … cold beer and cigarettes along,” Marlin said Wednesday afternoon.
Marlin said when they helped out after Hurricane Michael devastated Panama City in 2018, the folks were very appreciative of the cigarettes and beer.
About 5 p.m. Wednesday, about a half-dozen of the guys were at Ariel Seafood on Mountain Drive in Destin filling up four huge vats of ice that Ariel owner David Krebs donated to the cause.
“We’re a fishing community and 40% of our business comes out of Louisiana,” Krebs said. “We’re just like brothers … we’re all in this together.”
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Krebs said they are not doing this for the praise from others, but it's “a blessing that you can.”
Capt. Steven Pixley, who was shoveling ice, said “it could have been us. When our day comes, I hope they’ll be there to help us get back on our feet.”
Pixley, Marlin, Ream, along with Capt. Chris Schofield and Justin Echternacht finished up shoveling ice after 6 p.m. and were headed back to the Boathouse to finish loading up the items that had been donated by others.
They hit the road about 3 a.m. to beat the traffic. A little after 9 a.m. Thursday, they already were south of New Orleans.
This is just the first of many trips planned by people from the Destin community.
Others are planning to make a haul this weekend as well as after the first of the week.