Naples man walks five miles a day while keeping beaches beautiful

Reporter: Rachel Cox-Rosen
Published: Updated:

One Southwest Florida man is working to keep paradise beautiful by cleaning up trash left behind on the beaches.

Every day Bob Daniels walks along Park Shore Beach in Naples, “Some of this stuff is pretty disgusting.”

He’s been walking five miles almost every morning for the last 20 years, all while picking up trash.

Daniels said, “This beach has pretty much saved my life, I think … it’s given me a different perspective on things.”

Every step he takes is an accomplishment and a step further from a 1996 car accident in Wisconsin that changed his life.

He never thought he’d be able to walk again the way he does now.

“It was pretty devastating,” Daniels said.” I mean, I couldn’t imagine myself in a wheelchair, and I wasn’t about to let myself be that person.”

So he didn’t. After moving to Naples in 1999, Daniels decided to try to walk the Park Shore Beach.

Every day, he pushed through the pain and went one building farther.

“I had to reach deep inside and pull out something I wasn’t even sure I’d be able to do,” he explained. “I’m doing something I wasn’t expected to be able to do. I’ve gotten beyond that. I’d beat the odds of what they thought was gonna be the case.”

He now walks around five miles a day and leaves the beach with bags full of trash. “I get to leave the beach cleaner than it was when I first came on it, so it’s all good, and I get exercise, mental therapy, physical therapy.”

And he doesn’t plan to stop.

“Being out here is… it’s my sanctuary. It’s my place to go; it’s my place to get away from everything.” Healing himself and the beach, one step at a time.

Daniel also has some advice. He says your life can change in a matter of seconds, so just adjust and do the best you can.

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