Jose was so pumped for this trip from the moment I called him. “Thank you so much for doing this for me and my family!” I told him “Thank me after!” Although I couldn’t join them on the boat, there was an instant connection with Jose. I stopped by to greet them at their temporary home “Latitude Adjustments” donated by Shane and Tiffany Shirley and Michele Adams from Bluescape Real Estate. Hugs were exchanged and instantly all of us started to tear up. Jose and his wife Chris were so grateful from the moment they arrived. I told them “Just wait! You will either love or hate Captain Rob, so you might take that back!’’
I say that because Rob is a tell it like it is kind of guy. His military background left him with a few rough edges. For me, that’s what I love most about him, and after Jose’s trip he agreed. I’ve known Rob for a long time. He’s done trips with us before, and he is buddies with one of our newest board members Joe Trip. I was on the phone with Joe and in the middle of planning Jose’s trip, and thought perfect…ask Rob if he’s available, and he was!
After serving in the US Marine Corps for 15 years Jose has seen a laundry list of horrific things. Needless to say, when he got out, what he experienced came home with him and heavily impacted his entire family. The strain between his wife, mother, and sister was massive. This trip was not only therapeutic for Jose and his family, but for Rob too.
“I would like to thank you and your dad’s foundation for providing my family and I to come together after I have pushed them apart so many times, because I believed I didn’t deserve to be happy. I had given up on life many times and hurt my family every time I was giving up.
I fractured my family and Jose Wejebe Foundation put us back together. Having the opportunity that you and your dad’s foundation gave us, to be able to have my family in a different environment away from what reminds us of hurt and pain, you put a smile and brought us together. Being on the boat and fishing together, it was such an amazing exercise. We didn’t believe we could catch anything, but every single time we pulled up a fish it was that reminder that we can do it together and we believe in each other. Teamwork as a family and that feeling of success in the boat, it was the best family therapy we could have asked for. It’s been a few days, and everyone can’t stop talking about how amazing you were, your family and the foundation. How much we appreciate Captain Rob Harris and Joe! They did an amazing job to make us feel at home and teach us how to fish and smile again.
Thank you again for checking up on us and making this process so easy. My family and I will always be grateful. Again, I fractured my family and Jose Wejebe Foundation put us back together. Thank you.”
US Marine Veteran Jose Agurto
In the end I know that our trips will always be successful, but as an added bonus Captain Rob was able to benefit in his own way. In his words;
“One of my greatest joys about being a fishing guide is getting the opportunity to take people out on the waters of the Keys. While I may see it daily, most of them are seeing it for the first time. Such was the case with Jose and his family. Every aspect of what we did, from getting on the boat till the time they got off the boat was a first for all of them. I have done things with the Jose Wejebe Memorial Foundation for years. This time was a little different in a very special way.
Normally I have had groups aboard, but this time it was just the family. As Jose and I bonded with our similar backgrounds, he a Marine and I Navy, I was able to reflect on our pasts. I was also able to bear witness to the healing and familial growth being with them on this part of their journey. I came to feel I was part of it. Much of what they were experiencing for the first time was also a first for me. I was seeing my life, what I do, who I am through them. As we parted ways, I felt I had new family.
I thanked Krissy for the opportunity and told her it is such a powerful direction she is taking. I know Jose and his family got the best possible opportunity to come together as a family unit and will never forget their time spent in the Keys.”
-Captain Rob Harris with Got TA Go Charters
After the fishing was over, I got a note from Captain Rob. Now again bringing it back to Rob will always tell you EXACTLY what he thinks. Throughout the last ten years of doing these trips or any Foundation project for that matter, we are congratulated with many (and meaningful) “You guys are doing great things.” But when someone like Rob pays you a compliment it means a lot.
“I love that you are doing family veteran trips now instead of veterans only. I really like the direction you are taking. This was eye opening and good for both Jose and me. Having spoken with him on a level neither of us were expecting with similar past life experiences. If no one else, you know and trust to give you an honest opinion…let me say well done! The Foundation is doing things that hasn’t been done and is doing them successfully. I’ve participated in many charity related things for veterans on both ends. In Navy terms “BZ”. That’s what Command Elements (admirals) would pass on to the individual units for a job well done. BZ Krissy…BZ
Now let me say this. This Foundation is entirely a group effort. I by no means deserve all the credit they give to me. Without our board of directors, advisors, donors, and volunteers none of this would be possible. All I do is ask people for money, stuff we can raise money with, and plan fishing trips. If it wasn’t for time, talent, or treasure that our little “Spanish Fly Family” gives so generously I myself would be lost. As my dad Jose would say “Yay team!”