I was born in Miami, Florida, April 6th 1945 to a middle class family. I am one of 5 children, four boys and a girl. We were raised as Baptist. I never had any legal altercations as a teen or a young man. At 14 years old I started working in a nursery learning to grow plants and grafting plants until I was 18. During that time I worked hard to become a certified scuba diver and remained licensed through 1989. At 18, I began working at Aerodex in the aircraft plant overhauling aircraft engines for the two years until I joined the military after receiving my High School Diploma in 1963.
In 1965, at the age of 20, I joined the army to become a paratrooper, knowing that I would have to go to Vietnam. I was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division after I had seven months of specialized training and received my jump wings. I was sent to Ft. Campbell, KY., for an additional two months training. I qualified for the Green Beret. However, I turned down the Beret, so that I could stay with the unit that I had trained with. I volunteered for Vietnam with the 1st Expeditionary force. After arriving in Vietnam, I was on the front line of combat after one week of processing. I was at the front for a year. After a couple of weeks of R & R in Thailand, I volunteered for a 2nd tour. I was promoted to corporal, and returned to the front, where I made 2 combat jumps. Six months into my second tour in Vietnam near Tam Ky on 15 Oct., 1967, I was wounded when we where over run by NVA forces. If this date sounds familiar, it is the same battle that Sgt. Webster Anderson was in that resulted in Sgt. Anderson receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor. Many of my friends were killed that night. I was wounded by shrapnel from an enemy grenade and was evacuated to Japan for rehabilitation. I am now a disabled Vietnam Veteran and a holder of a Purple Heart.
In 1969, I started a 4-year apprentice program and became a Journeyman Ironworker, working out of Ironworkers Local 272 in Miami, Florida. As a Journeyman, I trained in ironwork, structural rod reinforcement, electrical, plumbing, plaster, finish work, building aircraft hangers and roofing as a compliment to my profession.
In 1970 I bought my 1968 red Corvette and have been customizing it ever since. She is a real beauty, and has been seen in film and on the sunset strip parked in front of the many notorious hotels, such as the one Scarface was filmed. My ’68 Corvette was quite popular among the hotels, as it would draw a crowd to whichever hotel it was parked in front of. I used the extra marketing to promote the rental of the vehicle for movie promotions and anytime anyone rich or famous wanted to drive in style.
In 1973 I bought my first home to renovate/remodel and quickly earned my Realtor’s License in 1976. In addition to the renovation, I got involved building and racing off shore drag racing boats with some success. In 1979 I purchased a second property to flip.
Simultaneously, I worked for Mosler Safe Company for eight years and became a Senior Installation supervisor specializing in bank vault installations. I ended my official working relationship as a Superintendent of Installation and Design and continued on with the company as Consultant until 1984 when I started my own company, Miami Safe & Vault Mover’s Inc. I installed safes around the United States and Mexico for government officials for over 20 years. In addition to the safe company, I also held a concealed weapons permit and some serious military training. In 1999, while living in Miami, I used my military training and concealed weapons permit to be a body guard and personal driver to the rich, famous and powerful. I enjoyed the perks of the job, as it allowed me to drive my custom 1968 red convertible Corvette or a Limousine of the clients choosing. During these years I also formed “2 Vets Company”, which customized old homes around the Miami Beach area. I utilized veterans to perform all the work while doing on the job training to help to them succeed back in the states.
Then in 1999, I purchased an old run down fish camp in Lake Whales, on Lake Pierce and with the help from veterans we turned the camp into an Ecological Park for all homeless veterans to enjoy. I brought in approximately five to ten Vets a month and put them to work in the park to assist in their rehabilitation and provide them with skills they could apply in the working world.
One weekend when I came out to the park, I was met by two detectives that told me they were investigating a charge of using cable television without paying for it. Apparently a lady who I was having evicted from the park had called in a false complaint to spite me. I was threatened by the officers to confess, but since I had not done anything wrong, I refused to confess. They nonetheless arrested me and took me to jail.
Later, in court, another officer claimed that I had confessed to the crime, when I had not confessed to anything. I was found guilty of a crime that I did not commit, primarily because I insisted on protesting my innocence. Later, in August of 2010, I lost the park. The nightmare of injustice that I was subjected to left me disillusioned with life in the United States.
I have since moved to Panama with Doobee in order to have a quiet and peaceful life. Here I can volunteer and give to the community without being persecuted by rapacious government officials. I continue to help veterans (many of whom have also chosen to retire here.) I have also been fortunate enough to do some work with the poor indigenous peoples. I helped to get them some clean running water systems. I am happy to help people and make the children smile, as Doobee and I entertain them.