Kickoff Celebration Builds Excitement
The special event was kicked off by Danny Vinson, longtime Store Manager and current Regional Manager for the Southeast including all our Florida stores. The event took place at the Outdoor World in Fort Lauderdale, Florida – our fourth location – where we have been proudly serving the angling community for more than 20 years.
Danny was joined by other store managers including Chuck Stevens from Fort Myers, Scott Matthews from Palm Bay, Jamie Gonzalez from Miami and Scott Bodziak from World Wide Sportsman in Islamorada.
The event was inspired by Johnny’s love for the people of the Bahamas, a dream destination for all anglers, where he has created many special memories and established meaningful friendships.
Fittingly, the event began with a blessing by Gregory Beneby, nephew of the late Reverend Willie James Duncombe, a Bahamian fishing guide and Pentecostal minister with whom Johnny developed a special bond while fishing in the Bahamas. The two became such great friends that Willie went on to officiate Johnny and Jeanie Morris’ wedding ceremony, and they would later name their son in his memory – John Paul Willey Morris.
Held just one day after the anniversary of 9/11, the blessing was followed by the Pledge of Allegiance led by Command Sergeant Major Tom Satterly and his wife, Jen Satterly. Tom is a highly decorated American hero who was instrumental to the capture of Saddam Hussein and was portrayed in the film Black Hawk Down. Jen also worked in Special Operations.
Other special guests in attendance included Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, A-list celebrity Mark Wahlberg (via video call-in from his latest film shoot location), many prominent celebrity anglers including Captain Alex Adler, Captain Terry Robinson, Captain Jimmy Wickett, Captain Neal Stark, Captain Ray Rosher, Captain Art Sapp, Jamie Bunn, Diego Torian, George Poveromo, Rich Tudor and Scott Martin.
Key local conservation partners also participated in the event such as Eric Sutton, Executive Director of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission alongside Commissioners Steve Hudson and Rodney Baretto; Jim McDuffe, President of Bonefish Tarpon Trust; Brian Gorski, President of the Coastal Conservation Association of Florida; and Everglades Foundation CEO Eric Eikenberg.