I was born and raised in Tallahassee, so there may be some bias in my opinion that Tallahassee is a warm, giving city. However, over the last year I have personally witnessed Tallahassee citizens giving back to their community in some very real ways.
Last Christmas, my team and I spent some time “working the bell” for the Salvation Army. We started a little before 9:00 a.m. and closed it down a little after 8:00 p.m. During that time, we were honored to see the true spirit of Tallahassee. Almost everyone who walked by met us with genuine smiles and warm conversations. We were impressed by the number of people who fought through inconvenience and reached into their wallets with arms full of groceries to help people they didn’t know.
But it didn’t end there. A week later, I received an anonymous letter from Susan, no last name, no return address.
She wrote, “Joe, I heard you were collecting/matching donations for the Salvation Army, and I wanted to contribute. I heard you also served in the military, and I wanted to thank you for your service. Have a blessed holiday! — Sincerely, Susan”.
Susan is just one great example of “who we are” in Tallahassee. Earlier this year, I was moved by the story of Brian Fiore, a service-disabled US Army Veteran and Tallahassee resident who was in dire need of our community’s help. In January, Brian suffered a near-fatal stroke caused by traumatic brain injuries incurred while serving our nation as an Active Duty soldier. Unfortunately, without the ability to verbally communicate, he was no longer able to perform his job duties with the State of Florida and needed help moving into a smaller home where he could more easily manage the expenses.
Joe Manausa Real Estate started a GoFundMe campaign for Brian and reached out to the people of Tallahassee. The response was overwhelming and our community has raised over half of the $18,000 goal so far. Not only did people make monetary contributions, but they poured out words of encouragement, sympathy, and gratitude for Brian’s service.
This is the city I know, and love. Tallahassee has always had a generous heart and a caring spirit that I haven’t experienced in other places. It is what makes our city a place to call home.