Raised in Merritt Island, Florida as a military brat and the son of an avid fisherman, I quickly gained a love of the outdoors and waterways around my home. Dad took us on an annual pilgrimage to the Florida Keys in the 1960's and early 70's and then used his retired status later on to take us on "space available" flights out of Patrick Air Force Base to many of the Caribbean islands downrange.
The Florida Keys were always shared with another family that dad had met in West Palm Beach prior to retiring. Jim & Shirley Williams were reunited with my parents when they stumbled into each other in the Crockett Hardware store on Merritt Island and quickly introduced their young families to one-another other. Jim's boat was promptly trailered to Islamorada and several yearly trips were planned and executed for lobstering and fishing.
Merely a grade schooler I struggled snorkling with the older kids, but after several summers of sun scorched weeks in the Keys, I surpassed even my father in his desire for the ocean. I'd become addicted to the outdoors and dad moving us to a waterfront home on the North Banana River corridor was like throwing gasoline on a fire. I'd been ignited, my dad purchased Jim William's boat, made a dock, brought a sailboat, a jon boat and let me loose!
Mornings were spent fishing for snook in my backyard and days sailing the Banana River Lagoon with my friends.... I was truly lost in my paradise.
A Spiritual Side
During the 60's my parents attended a church with a thriving membership of new families on the Space Coast. The pastor was a fiery evangelist, Brother Adrian Rogers with a message of Jesus's love. Adrian's message combined with a growing population of Cape workers during the "Jesus Movement" of the 60's was a powerful demonstration of God's movement. Our church grew and God's spirit was undeniably present during his tenure as pastor. It was then that I found Christ as my Saviour and I trust Him for my eternal destiny.
I still attend First Baptist Church of Merritt Island today with my family and have many old friends that we visit weekly. Fifty years of attending the same church, I've formed a bond that will surely last my lifetime.
After High School and College I settled back home to find myself and fell in love with a beautiful local girl that was now attending our church. We married in 1990, had two wonderfully beautiful daughters Savannah & Mekenzie
Captain Richard Bradley ©