Florida Feels

Florida Feels: Man Sheds More Than 150 Pounds to Join the Military

Please allow 28-year-old Christian Montijo to serve as your 2020 motivation to get your lives together. The father of two dropped more than 150 lbs and then opted to serve his country in joining the U.S. Army!!!

For Montijo, it has been his dream to serve his country, but the weight was keeping him from doing it. So he did something about it. It was just about a year ago that he weighed more than 300 lbs., so with a plan in sight, he started a weight-loss campaign, which included meal prep and walks around his neighborhood.

He credits his kids as his primary motive in dropping the weight, but joining the military has always been a dream. When he felt he was good enough, he visited the Kissimmee recruiting station, but still needed to drop about 30 lbs.

By October of 2019, he had shed nearly 165 lbs and was finally able to enlist.

Montijo is now active and at basic training in South Carolina, while serving as a Satellite Communications Systems Ops Maintainer.


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Florida Feels: Man Drops 260 lbs Ahead of Running First Full Marathon

Florida bro Chris Hasty was motivated in not dying in the next 5-10 years, so he decided to drop more than 260 lbs, down from nearly 500 lbs, in anticipation of running his first full Disney Marathon.

Now, you can find him at one of two places, the gym or running the hills of Clermont. He didn’t stop at a certain number and has kept the journey going. His wife also launched @morbid2marathon on Instagram, so you can track his progress, but was initially started in keeping him accountable.

Hasty was a borderline diabetic with high blood pressure before opting to run in various 5K, 10K and half-marathons with coworkers at South Lake Hospital. Now, he’s up to full marathons and, in January of 2020, will partake in the four-day slate of races as part of Run Disney, which culminates with a full marathon and a total of 48.6 miles.

Hasty currently has a GoFundMe campaign going in hopes of having skin removal surgery, because the loose skin is painful when he runs. You can donate to the cause: HERE.


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Florida Feels: Woman Breaking Barriers in Playing Football with Men

Raksha Bethencourt is a full-time law firm assistant, has a side hustle job at home, is a single mom and, oh yeah, a linebacker in a men’s minor league football league.

We could all learn something from this women. That is how you stay busy!

Bethencourt is just 25-years-old. She rocks No. 48 and patrols the outside as a linebacker for the Orlando Phantoms, of which, she’s already won two championships with the team as well.

She tried out in 2017 and made history in making the cut, having beat out 76 other players, all men. She’s the first woman to ever play in the league.

The 5-foot-4 OLB initially tried out for the Orlando Anarchy, the women’s minor league football team, but in wanting to pursue a greater challenge, opted to also try out for the Phantoms.

The most-difficult part of it all, according to Bethencourt, is conquering the mental aspect of playing against men. She’s suffered numerous injuries, including haven broken her hands. However, she has not swayed from the task at hand in also serving as a good example for her 7-year-old daughter.

The baller hopes to inspire other women to knock down walls and challenge barriers as well, because anything is possible, if you set yourself a goal and are determined to make it happen.


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Florida Feels: Man Biking U.S. in Raising Awareness for Pet Therapy

Florida bro, 52-year-old Jay Hamm, is biking across the nation, via his Pedego electric bike, to raise awareness for pet therapy!

He also utilizes his pets, Chibby Choo and K Poppy, for pet therapy as well. The dude rules!

Hamm packed his pups in a custom-built sidecar and rode off from Jupiter Inlet, bound for Huntington Beach, Calif., trailed by a support bus with bedding, coolers, paddleboards and supplies.

His making his trek to raise awareness of the benefits of pet therapy and how dogs help people. The motivation, when his dog comforted his sister, Tamra Williams, who was dying of cancer in 2015.

Both of his dogs are certified for pet therapy and he also launched a non-profit, Paws for Compassion, which he operates under. He brings his dogs to medical facilities in the area and to Tequesta Terrace, an assisted living facility, where he spreads smiles, left and right.

When Hamm returns, he is going to jump behind the wheel of the bus to promote the organization in shuttling dogs to areas of need around Lake Okeechobee.

Hamm’s passion is to serve others and to that, we give this bro, two thumbs up! Keep up the great work!


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Florida Feels: Nonprofits Form Highway Flash Mob for Charity

Volunteers from various nonprofits took to the streets for Give Miami Day in raising money for Underline, a new 10-mile linear park and urban trail initiative.

The nonprofits formed a flash mob and danced along the highway along U.S. 1 in Miami-Dade during rush hour, all while accepting donations.

Underline, which will stretch from South Dadeland to Brickell, will feature a safe space for bike rides, running trails and picnics, and will also have the convenience of being established in conjunction with the Metrorail, so transportation will be convenient.

The first phase of construction for Underline begins next summer.


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Florida Feels: Orangutan Moves to Florida, Becomes Woman

An orangutan named Sandra has been granted legal humanhood and moved to the Center of Great Apes, located in Central Florida.

The ruling, via Judge Elena Liberatori, declares her legally NOT an animal, but a ‘non-human person’. This entitles the ape to some human rights in making her living conditions better.

At the Center for Apes, in Wauchula, Fla., Sandra will be joined by 21 other orangutans and 31 chimpanzees, all of which, have been rescued from various exotic pet trades and circuses and stage shows.

Sandra was born in Germany, but resided in Brazil for 25 years. She is now 33-years-old.

Happy retirement and welcome to Florida, Sandra!


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Florida Feels: The USS Indianapolis Sets Course for Home

Following a historic U.S. Navy commissioning ceremony at the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the U.S. Indianapolis, a Littoral Combat Ship, is bound for home, in Florida.

The ship, which is the fourth to dawn the ‘Indianapolis’ name, cost a staggering $450 million mine to construct and is tasked for mine warfare.

The tour on its way home will see it go from Lake Michigan, via the Straits of Mackinac, across the Great Lakes and through the St. Lawrence Seaway, where it will then make its interior exit, northeast of Canada, on its way out to the open sea, in the Atlantic Ocean. It will then make its trek down the coastline to the Mayport Naval Station, near Jacksonville, Fla.

The 70 sailors aboard will be greeted by their families when the ship pulls in and be ultimately welcomed by more than 12,000 people, which was the estimated crowd to have attended the Freedom-Class Ship commissioning.

Thank your soldiers every chance you get, folks!


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Florida Feels: Kayaker Rescues Woman in Submerged Car

An 81-year-old woman took a wrong and, extremely dangerous, turn, landing her automobile nearly submerged, overnight, in the waters of Higel Marine Park.

A man’s morning kayak, the next day, thus turned into a rescue mission. He noticed the car, with the woman trapped inside, as the car continued to sink.

The man, who received help from a nearby paddler, was able to help the woman escape through the passenger-side window of the almost-sunken car, of which, had water up to the dashboard.

Emergency responders were notified and promptly brought the woman to the hospital.

The issue was the wrong turn, but also that the Higel Boat Ramp was slick from moss and algae buildup, which led to the car landing in the water, as the brakes failed under the circumstances.

The woman is in stable condition, thanks to the two Florida bros that helped her out of the car.


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Florida Feels: Photo of Yellow Cardinal in Florida Has Sparked Viral Sensation

The Yellow Northern Cardinal, named ‘Sunny’, has become a viral phenomenon. It has been pictured in other parts of the United States, but since being photographed in Port St. Lucie, Fla., images have now circulated in a nationwide conversation.

Geoffrey Hill, a professor at Auburn University and curator of birds, has stated that it is a rare mutation that he has heard about in the past, but with the increasing amount of sightings, could be the start of a growing population.

There currently resides 12 of these rare birds in the nation, so far. Get your cameras ready, because you never know when one will pop up! Be sure to also play your part in keeping habitats clean and safe for all animals!

You can join in on the conversation via the Official Sunny Facebook Page.


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Florida Feels: Bar Pulls Over $14K Off Walls to Donate to Bahamas

Big ups to the Siesta Key Oyster Bar, in Sarasota, Fla., for axing a 16-year tradition of pinning dollar bills on its walls and ceiling, to pull it all down in donating to the Red Cross for Hurricane Dorian relief.

The tradition originally hails from an old fisherman’s tale in which sticking money on the wall would secure you a spot and a beer at the bar after a long day’s work.

The donation is for roughly $14,000. The final goal is $15,000. The media coverage is definitely helping as well, as people are coming in droves to donate upward of $50 a visit for the initiative as well.

What’s even more awesome is that this isn’t the first time the establishment has pulled money down off of its structure, having donated over $10,000 to five different local charities.

This team effort gets five thumbs up from all of us here at FLMT.


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