A Southwest Florida community is mourning the loss of a man who never met a challenge he could not overcome.
George Tice was known around Southwest Florida as the “Blind Angler” for winning fishing tournaments despite his disability.
Ed Ciofani, a friend of George Tice said, “God help the fish of the world if his, his ambitions were as strong as they were towards helping the vets and their family.”
He was also a hero in the army and his time in uniform shaped his life.
Tice was in Saudi Arabia during the Desert Storm when he saw a helicopter go down. He did what heroes do he ran into the flames and saved a soldier’s life.
Kevin Boyd, a friend of George Tice said, “George was in Desert Storm, Chinook helicopter crash. And he pulled those bloody bodies out of that helicopter, and that’s where his PTSD came from.”
His friends told WINK News since he came away scarred, living the last 31 years of his life with PTSD.
But Tice refused to be a victim even when he lost his vision five years ago after a stroke. American Legion 38 was a huge part of his life.
Tice was the Vice Commander and in that role, he found so many ways to honor Veterans locally.
“It’s because of George that they created a celebration for the Legion’s 100th birthday. And he’s the reason the traveling Vietnam wall came here,” Boyd said.
There was no challenge ever too hard for Tice to accomplish.
“We did a color guard for Hodges at Hertz Arena. And nobody knew he was blind. Until he wants to go to the bathroom. He took his walking stick because he literally counted his steps. He got there two hours before and he counted the steps of everywhere where he had to go. So when he was ready, they didn’t even realize he was blind and he was carrying a rifle during the codeine. I mean, the man is amazing,” Boyd said.
Tice’s amazing resiliency led him to make friends in high places.
Nik Wallenda, a friend of George Tice said, “George came as a fan. And I’ll never forget, after the first day we met, he came back two days later to see the show again, and he brought us a cake that was just to celebrate the show and the performance.”
Tice went from a fan to a friend of tightrope walker Nik Wallenda. And Wallenda went from friend to a fan of Tice.
“We sort of, hit it off, he was just somebody that I looked up to that I admired,” Wallenda said.
George Tice was a husband, hero, and friend to many.
Boyd said another thing Tice loved to do was build tiny houses.
He hopes one day there will be the George Tice tiny home community for veterans.