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Sheriff’s fight against hunger scores another knockout

By Staff | Dec 8, 2015

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office pulled out all the stops Saturday at its second-annual Fighting Holiday Hunger event at the North Fort Myers Community Park.

They brought all their gear for people to inspect and admire and even invited a U.S. congressman to help emphasize the message.

More than 2,000 were expected to come in and out throughout the day to bring in canned-food donations, watch their kids play in the bounce houses and be part of an event that puts the LCSO in a different light and also served to remember those who served our nation on the eve of Pearl Harbor Day.

The LCSO brought the machines they use to keep Lee County safe. It brought its underwater unit and the tools they use for that, its bomb squad that features a robot that demonstrated its abilities by taking the hat and untying the shoe of a young baseball player, its helicopter or the air, and even the equestrian division for the ground.

Mike Rakestraw, organized the event for the LCSO, said he expected results to be at or near what they raised last year, which was enough food to get the local shelters through the new year.

“This is the focal point. This has been going on for months. Last year it wasn’t for just the holidays. We gathered enough to feed families for a couple months,” Rakestraw said. “We’re betting on doing the same this year.”

The event was put on with the help of Balgas, which had volunteers all over the place. One of them was Ryan Lindenmeyer, who manned the bounce house area with his wife and two kids.

“It’s for a good cause. To help feed the people. We work closely with the Sheriff’s Office and we help out with things that help the community,” Lindenmeyer said.

Also on hand was the Cape Coral Kiwanis, whose president, Mick Sheldrake, gave $2,500 to Meghan Madden of Community Cooperative Ministries CCMI to help feed the homeless.

The event also served a second purpose; to show the community cares for those who made the sacrifice to serve our country. The LCSO Color Guard and the American Legion Post 336 Auxiliary were there for a short ceremony, and U.S. Rep. Curt Clawson made a surprise visit to talk briefly about his family’s commitment to military service.

“This is a great cause with a great organization and a great leader. When Mike Scott asks me to do something, I say yes,” Clawson said. “We also wanted to honor the veterans. Any chance we get to show our appreciation is heartfelt. We keep losing World War II vets, and we’re here today because of them.”

Mick Michel, a member of a motorcycle club of retired first responders, came with fellow members and got to see their active comrades.

“We brought canned food to the needy people and it’s great for the community. It’s great to see a lot of the people we know,” Michel said.