LAKELAND, Fla. — Businesses in Lakeland are joining efforts statewide to get relief aid and supplies to the Bahamas any way they can.


One of the latest relief flights to the Bahamas took off from Lakeland Linder International Airport Tuesday morning. 

The effort was organized by business trainer Gary Coxe and Maurice McCleish, who owns an auto repair business near the airport. 

Coxe has been traveling to the Bahamas for many years for his business.

“I’ve been going down — you got me emotional — I’ve been going down there for 30 years, so these people are really close to me, so I’ll do anything I can to support them,” Coxe said.

The supplies were dropped off at Maurice’s, and so many people donated so many supplies that local trucking company Diesel Life stepped forward to transport much of it to South Florida so it could then be transported by boat to the Bahamas. 

“I have people bringing their kids making stuff, little letters so we could drop it in a card, pouring their heart out,” said McCleish. “That just shows me we are a caring people. That’s the way it should be all the time without disasters doing that.”

There was a little drama with the flight. There was a mechanical issue with the first jet set to make the trip, so a replacement jet was flown in from Sarasota to make the flight.