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HomeEvent CoverageMiller’s Dockside Steps Up Big For Fort Myers Offshore Boca Grande Fun Run

Miller’s Dockside Steps Up Big For Fort Myers Offshore Boca Grande Fun Run

That the Fort Myers Offshore lunch run to Miller’s Dockside restaurant on Boca Grande, Fla., even happened last weekend was the product of two miracles, one large and the other small. The Southwest Florida barrier island took a lashing from Hurricane Ian in late September 2022, yet the restaurant and its adjacent marina survived and reopened a few months ago.

Canceled and reopened less than a full day before its scheduled start, the Fort Myers Offshore lunch run to Miller’s Dockside came together for all the right reasons. Photos courtesy/copyright Fort Myers Offshore.

That was the large miracle. The smaller one came out of a schedule miscue. Last Thursday, Fort Myers Offshore board member Cyndee Hill reached out to the venue to confirm the club’s February 11 arrival. Problem was, the venue had the event set for March 11 and didn’t have the food, staff or dock space to accommodate the group for its originally planned February date.

“All of this transpired while I was out of state traveling on business,” said Tim Hill, the president of the nonprofit scholarship fundraising powerboat club. “Cyndee called me to let me know and I had no choice but to cancel the event and try to come up with something we could do with 35 boats and 150 club members, many of whom were in town just for the run. 

“With most of our regular club destinations either closed from Ian damage or their docks no longer usable, the options were zero,” he added.

Faced with no destination, Hill canceled the event.

To the rescue came Charlotte Arsenault, the general manager of Miller’s Dockside. Arsenault was able to find enough staff and order the food in time for the Saturday happening.

“After cancelling the event 15 hours prior—while flying back from my business trip—I emailed our members and created another Facebook event dubbed, ‘WTF It’s Back On—Miller’s FMO Run.'”

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Enjoy more images from last Saturday’s event.

Cyndee Hill picked up the story from there.

“Friday morning, I called Charlotte at Miller’s to thank her and let her know we decided to cancel because we didn’t want to stress the staff last minute,” she explained. “She informed me that the run can still be on if we decide to do so. She managed to order the food with minutes to spare—Sysco foods has a deadline for ordering food and she had 10 minutes to spare. She pulled it off and arranged for staff to come in on their day off.

“Charlotte told us she loves our group and will continue to do what she can so we come back year after year,” she added. “I want to give a big shout out and thanks to all the staff at Miller’s for always accommodating Fort Myers Offshore.”

Minus the last-minute push, the event itself was typical Fort Myers Offshore, meaning casual fun and more than a little social. The run attracted 32 boats, and though the return was a bit more sporty than the outbound trek, water conditions were mild and the weather was mostly clear.

The Hills, of course, were relieved at not having to cancel the event. It’s been a challenging season for the club and its board members since Hurricane Ian. Last-minute workarounds have been the norm.

So the couple took something of a victory lap for the afternoon.

“Aside from all of the planning, registration, and logistics typically once at our destination we sell apparel and 50/50 raffle tickets, which consumes most of our time,” said Tim Hill. “I told Cyndee we were not going to haul all of that stuff to the event—we were just going to go and enjoy ourselves. This provided us with time to talk to all our members who are so appreciative of the efforts it takes to put on these events throughout the year, have lunch and see all the great boats that made the run.”

Fort Myers Offshore is a decidedly social nonprofit organization.

The next FMO event is scheduled for March 4. The final destination for the run has not been determined.

That run is supposed to be to Burnt Store Marina, but the venue’s docks where damaged by Ian and we still have not confirmed they will be ready for us,” said Tim Hill. “We will finalize details in the next two weeks. However, FMO will 100 percent be going somewhere on March 4. Ian can’t hold us back any longer.”

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