ANNA MARIA – Old-timers and new residents turned out Saturday to raise money for Jim and Ronee Brady, owners of the fire-damaged West Coast Surf Shop. The couple is now waiting on insurance money to pay for the damage to their shop and merchandise that was destroyed in the April blaze.
However, insurance won’t cover all their expenses or loss of income since the shop has been closed. And when their friends and fans, who included customers and former employees, heard about their plight, they organized the fundraiser. At press time, there was no count of the money raised.
Ben Webb, who helped to come up with the idea, talked to the crowd about the Bradys’ contributions to the Island.
“We decided to have a good old-fashioned fundraiser just like many we’ve held so many times in the past,” he said. “Through all those events, the Bradys were there contributing items to sell and helping with the work it takes to put on these things. They were at every one of them.”
The crowd applauded, and the family members there waved and posed for photos.
Somebody brought out two skimboards that were in the shop during the fire, and everybody there was asked to sign one of them.
There was music, beer, food, raffles and memories from those who recall how Island residents worked together to help those down on their luck. Webb said he hoped they always would.
Webb said they got the idea for the fundraiser like so many others.
“We were sitting at Duffy’s having some beers, and we decided it would be a great idea,” he said. “Then the girls took it over and handled the details.”
One of those women was Janae Rudacille, who praised the volunteers for their hard work.
Duffy’s Tavern and The Chiles Group restaurants provided the food. Duffy’s co-owner Peggy Davenport served liquor during the event, and Ed Chiles visited the event with his wife, Tina.
“This is another example of the community pulling together to help one of their own,” Chiles said. “The Bradys have been around for years and they have contributed to the fundraisers with donations and labor.”
Trevor Bystrom and Kristie Armas, Chuck Caudill and Kettle of Fish provided the music.
Jim Brady posed for photos and spoke with people he hadn’t seen in years.
“I’m amazed at the turnout,” he said. “We want to thank everybody who showed up and hope to see you when we reopen.”