Video of Rob Lord speaking from the rally: (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ImG8-gAI_9Q&feature=youtu.be)
Yesterday’s August 3rd, “2nd Annual March Against the Lake Okeechobee Discharges,” was remarkable. One year later, after the toxic releases from Lake Okeechobee, and the putrid discharges from our local canals, the grass-roots momentum has not stopped and is expanding with respectable allies.
Some 1500 people, artists, news agencies, and many politicians (in office or running to be) came with political signs, costumes and with children in tow. They sat in the baking sun and dead air, under one lone oak tree if they could fit, to listen to almost two hours of “educational speakers” and then to march to the locks. I was inspired.
Most jaw dropping for me, was to see the conservative and well spoken Senior Vice President, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Legal Officer, Robert Lord, (http://www.martinhealth.org/executives) for Martin Memorial Health Systems, climb the stairs and pledge the institution’s support for our St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon and publicly note the institution’s concern for the SLR/IRL’s related health issues.
“Wow.” I thought. “Now this is a turning point. They can’t call us tree huggers anymore…”
I did not write down what Mr Lord said, but I stood there at his feet basically and watched him. I have known the family for my whole life. His father was a famous Country Western singer/later developer Bobby Lord, and I went to school with Cabot, Rob’s younger brother. Rob noted that he is “sixth generation,” and that his family grew up in the area, and that he, as a child, enjoyed our area and these waters. They were wonderful days. He noted his dear family friend Jo Neeson, a river supporter and organizer of the event, and all the fun they had growing up here. He then said something to this effect:
I am here today to speak on behalf of Martin Memorial Health Systems. We are concerned…We cannot prove that the many health issues- that have taken place- happened because of contact with river water but we can state that all of these people had contact with the water during the discharges….we are concerned. We are concerned for the health of the people and for the St Lucie River/Indian River Lagoon. For Martin Memorial, I am here today to say we support the movement for the river…
With such support and honest revelation, how can our state and local agencies such as the Army Corp of Engineers, the South Florida Water Management District, the Department of Environmental Protection and the State Department of Health ignore our cries?
They can’t. The hiding is over. The years of allowing destruction of our most precious resource, water, is done. The “cat is out of the bag,” “Pandora’s box is open.” Let’s keep talking and keep pushing and give our children a place to fish, swim, boat and see the magic of a dolphin break the waves…
Thank you Martin Memorial Health Systems and the other who will be coming along as well….
– Sierra Club
– Rivers Coalition
– Stonecrab Alliance
– Florida Oceanographic Society
– Indian Riverkeeper
– Maggy Hurchalla
– Fly & Light Tackle Angler
– River Kid
– Treasured Lands Foundation (Land and Legacy, Amendment 1)
– Miccosukees tribe & Love the Everglades Movement
-Jonathan Flick- Pro Surfer
-Brent Mienhold – Pro Surfer
-Jordan Schwartz – Ohana Surf shop owner
– River Kidz
– Save the Manatee
– West Coast Resident
– Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer of Martin Memorial Hospital Services