This post is close to my heart and ive had it in my head for months now and I don’t know why I haven’t written it before now. With it all coming to a head in the past few weeks I finally have the courage to write it down. 

We live in a small town called Christmas, my husband grew up in this town, his family has been here for 40 years and like most of the families around here this town is in their blood. 

The biggest part of this town is the St. Johns River the biggest businesses in this town are the gator farm and airboat tours. This is who this town is. This river runs in my kids bloods and of all the adults who grew up on this river. 

These tours are what make people come to this town. 

These small businesses are made up of men who either took over a family business and have made it their own, or are supporting a family in the way they were raised. Than you get one company come in and think that money should determine what and who gets to ride on the river. Sure those of us with our own boats can still go out and enjoy but at what cost? At the cost of our friends and who they are? That ruins it for all of us. 

This river is what shaped a lot of those who grew up on it. They played on it as children, they learned how to swim in it and drive their boat on it. They met their now spouse on that river, they hunted and learned the thrill of providing for their family. This river has shaped so many of our husbands Into the men and fathers they are today. Why is it ok to come in and try to take that away from our town? Why come and take this one thing that so many of our husbands have worked so hard for? 

Regulations are such a good thing to use! Regulations are not bad. But to Come in and completely disband and take away so much work is not right! These men went to school for months learning charting and safety and licensing just so they can deal with people day in and day out who sometimes are rude and other times come from far away just for those specific captains! 

My daughters both rode and airboat for the first time on those small business boats! My three year old daily talks about her Uncle Bruce and how he does airboat tours. She is so incredibly PROUD of him! I wouldn’t trust anyone else to teach my daughter all about the river, the animals and how they are needed to help our eco-system. I trust him to show her all the trees and what there names are. I know she will grow up with him and learn all about how the river gives back. 

These men that are just doing what they know are some of the best men in this town. You hurt them you hurt Christmas. We are a small town but we are the town that one of our own is in an accident we throw a fundraiser to help them! We are the town that bands together when one of our own is going through cancer. We clean up that river all throughout the year and have benefits that help with breast cancer funding. These men are all apart of that, you take away their right to do that you hurt not only them but all of us. 

I’ve watched these men in the past ten years I have been here band together for countless people. I’ve watched these men become husbands and fathers and give their families everything they could ever need, with the business that is getting the rug jerked out from under them. 

I have a hard time with expressing sometimes but my heart aches for these men who have had to unexpectedly pay thousand upon thousands of dollars just to keep there jobs. I think competition keeps the world going round. But I also think that when we let companies come in and take over and create rules around what they want we are hurting something so precious to our society. Small Businesses built us and we need them to continue on. They provide a much needed product and a personable level of care that we need still in this world. To let big money take over is just taking an easy way out of actually putting in the time and effort to get to know the individual business. Even with regulations we are going to lose some good men who have worked to build a business. 

Sometimes going out of our comfort zones and fighting for who and what we believe in is the best choice to make. I have two young daughters who will learn from me. I want to show them that whats right in your heart and worth fighting for may not be what society tell you. But that is 100% ok. We as humans work best when we follow what we know is the truth, otherwise we fight an internal battle of thinking we gave up. I want my daughters to see that being a business owner is incredibly rewarding, but you have to follow who you are and do it without being physical, or without screwing other people over. You have to be able in a non-confrontational manner be able to show people you are more than money can buy, you are a person and your business no matter how small makes an impact on the community. 

This battle is one i’m sure is fought all over our country and my heart aches for them. The small businesses that people won’t support because they stick to there beliefs. The small business that is getting run over by big businesses over and over again, my heart aches for them. We need to not forget them! We need to be better than this! Small Businesses built this nation and without them we will crumble as a nation. Money is not worth ruining a family and ruining a way of life.

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