By Stan Karpf, Vice President, GSAC Board of Directors
Those of you who have walked the Park Shore Beach over the years have hopefully had the privilege of meeting Bob Daniels, the bearded gentleman who can always be seen during the morning hours carrying a bag or two of trash he has picked up from our beautiful shores. Bob has been visiting Naples with his family since the mid-sixties when he was a child and has been a full-time resident since 1999.
He arrived in Naples that year after being involved in a horrific automobile accident in 1996, in state of Wisconsin. He owned a large bar, in Illinois, which featured live music. His entertainment included well known bands such as Badfinger, Warren Zevon, and Robbie Krieger of The Doors. His business at the time was booming!
After the accident, his life as he knew it was changed forever. He suffered a severe spinal column injury and was fearful he would be paralyzed from the chest down and never walk again. The initial prognosis was not good. After several months as the threat of paralysis receded, he began to slowly recover. He headed south to his family’s condominium located on the Park Shore Beach. He found that it was very therapeutic both physically and mentally to walk on the beach. Initially Bob struggled to walk the length of one building, but every day he walked a little further and pushed through the pain until he ultimately got up to five miles. He fell in love with the Park Shore Beach and decided to stay permanently. He credits the beach for his miraculous recovery, “It saved my life”.
For many years Bob lived in his family’s condo in Park Shore until they decided to sell the property. He has since remained in the area and continues to walk the beach and keep it clean for all of us to enjoy. Bob estimates he has probably picked up tons of trash and debris over the past two decades. Included were a lot of things you would expect but he did have one very unusual find – – a gold woman’s Presidential Rolex studded with diamonds and sapphires with an estimated value of $75,000. Bob went door to door visiting the condo buildings in the area where he found the watch and soon learned the identity of the owner. He shipped it to her in upstate New York after she had positively identified it. Bob was reimbursed for the shipping charges (although he didn’t request it) and was sent a generous reward.
As you might imagine, Bob has built quite an extended family over the years. If he is not seen on the beach for a day or two his phone starts to ring: “where are you, are you ok”? As Bob said to me, “the beach is my sanctuary and I need to have the sand between my toes”. At Christmas time you will find Bob dressed for the occasion with his red Santa hat bringing a happy holiday and joy to all. His story is so inspiring that WINK News featured him last April on TV. The link is included in this article.
If Bob is not walking the beach, he is probably driving a customer to or from one of the airports or driving someone’s car to or from the Midwest or Northeast. If you would like to contact Bob for one of these services, he can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 239 404 8497. If you call him, not only will you receive a very professional ride, but you will also hear some of his many terrific stories.
Thank you, Bob, for all you have done for more than two decades in keeping our beach clean! The next time you see Bob say hello and give him a big thank you!