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Hero HURRICANE-PROOF Captain Rick Murphy believes that when you’re a leader in the fishing community, you lead by example. So he organized a team of 30 volunteers to deliver labor and much-needed supplies to Keys residents whose homes and lives were uprooted by Hurricane Irma. TEX T BY SANDY LINDSEY H aving experienced the intensity of Hurricane Andrew, Captain Rick Murphy, host of Chevy Florida Insider Fishing Report, Texas Insider Fishing Report and Sportsman’s Adventures, knew all too well what people in the Keys were experiencing after Hurricane Irma. “As soon as the road opened, we rounded up volunteers from RM Media, Comtel Studios and South Dade High School to help clean up two neighborhoods on Marathon and Big Pine Key,” he says. “Our good friend Captain Pablo Rodriquez lives down there and made it clear the residents were in serious need of help and supplies.” And, he recalls, getting to the Lower Keys was an “adventure” that required a police escort. “When we arrived, we helped residents drag waterlogged furniture, beds and refrigerators full of spoiled food to the curb. The residents were pretty much shell- shocked, so showing up with energetic volunteers to do a week’s work in a few hours gave people a lot of hope.” Emotions ran high and they repeatedly heard, “I don’t know where these blue angels (Rick’s volunteers wore blue t-shirts) came from but, boy, are we glad they’re here!” The team worked tirelessly and without complaint. Before they returned home, they left residents with garbage pails, gloves, rakes, cleaning supplies, food, drinks, ice and other essential items. One notable item was a new chlorine dioxide disinfectant donated by Star brite, one of Rick’s TV show sponsors. “You’d have thought we gave homeowners a magic wand when we whipped out our Performacide kits,” he says. “When we showed them how easy it was to use Performacide to kill mold on walls, tile, concrete and countertops, or use it to get rid of the funky wet seaweed smells in their homes, they lit up light Christmas trees. We were giving them tools that would help them stay in their homes.” Many of Rick’s other TV sponsors such as Chevrolet, Turk Builders and the RM Media Family & Friends also provided generous donations. Now that the storm has passed, Rick’s next project is to spur economic recovery. “We need to spread the word that The Keys are open for business — they have NOT been wiped off the face of the planet,” he says. “The best way to help the recovery is to come on down and book a trip with a local fishing guide, view the reefs from a glass-bottomed boat, enjoy a meal in great restaurants and stay for a while in the hotels, motels and resorts. Kick-starting the economy is what needs to happen right now to get back to normal.”; #FishingForRelief, #CaptainsSavingCaptains. 54