John and Melissa Talmage, owners of three island restaurants, have high praise for the Community Housing & Resources (CHR) affordable housing program on Sanibel. They cite Randy Carson as one of their reasons.
"Randy respresents the best of this community what is most authentic about Sanibel," said Talmage. "Every day Carson goes to work for Sanibel sometimes for F.I.S.H., sometimes for the Optimist Club, often for a neighbor and no one ever knows about it. What allows him to contribute the way he does is CHR, without which he would not be able to afford to live here, work here, and contribute significantly to the life of the island."
A naval veteran of the Viet Nam war, Carson came to Sanibel more than 30 years ago. Apart from a few years when his wife fell ill, he has lived here ever since. When his wife died in 1990, he found an affordable home through CHR so he could continue to work and raise his teenaged son and daughter on Sanibel.
Restaurant owner John Talmage (left) with Randy Carson at work.
Carson is grateful to CHR and F.I.S.H., and is happy to volunteer for both organizations.
"When times were tough for me, they were there," Carson said. "Now I do what I can to help them."
He is also a past officer of the American Legion, and has served as a volunteer firefighter and on the City of Sanibel's Parks and Recreation Committee prior to the construction of the Recreation Center. He has been president of the Optimist Club, and as current vice-president, plays a key role in their activities to "provide a helping hand to youth and help empower them to be the best that they can be."
Although officially retired, Carson works part-time for Talmage at Island BBQ. Talmage is "proud to have him work for me, but even prouder to call him a friend."