Profiles

Diane Schmidt: Hotelier at Heart

It’s a total understatement to say that hospitality industry veteran Diane Schmidt, general manager of the Westin Key West Resort & Marina, gets excited watching her employees and even former employees succeed. Her delight was evident at a recent Florida Keys & Key West Lodging Association

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Jerry Wilkinson: Bringing History Alive

TAVERNIER, Florida Keys - Jerry Wilkinson settled in Tavernier after he and his wife spent 13 years traveling in a recreational vehicle looking for a place to settle down. Since then, driven by his passion to uncover as much history as possible in the Upper Florida Keys town, Wilkinson has become the area's expert

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Love of Nature Inspired a Thriving Career for Bill Keogh

Bill Keogh took a childhood love of the outdoors and turned it into a career. He's the owner of Big Pine Kayak Adventure in the Lower Keys, nestled beside the Old Wooden Bridge Fishing Camp along a winding road near mile marker 30 on U.S. Highway 1 in Big Pine Key.

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Karen Thurman: Key West Firecracker

Karen Thurman, an Oklahoma native, became a resident of the Conch Republic in the same way so many other Key Westers have — she came to visit a friend, fell in love with island life and stayed permanently. “I had a job offer in Fort Lauderdale and moved there sight unseen. I lasted six weeks and realized I didn’t belong there, so I went to Key West for the weekend to visit a friend who

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Richie Moretti, Turtle Champion

From working on Volkswagens to rehabilitating and releasing injured sea turtles, Richie Moretti has led a diverse and challenging life. Owner of what he says was "a very fast boat," he first came to the Florida Keys from Orlando in 1980 and helped rescue Cuban people during the Mariel boatlift. The following year, he started fishing in Marathon.

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Flying High with Key West’s Fred Cabanas

Fred Cabanas has been passionate about flying since he was 17 years old, hanging out at Key West International Airport, watching and flying with an aerobatics pilot. He wasn’t too thrilled with an instructor who believed planes should be flown with the wheel side down and the shiny side up, but the fancy maneuvers of the aerobatics instructor caught Cabanas’ eye. “The one before this instructor only believed in straight flying,” said Cabanas, “and then this pilot showed me how to roll them.”

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