Renee Reeves was born at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. The daughter of a military couple, she recalls moving to Springfield, Tennessee where she spent most of her school-aged years. She moved to Florida four years ago in search of a new start in life. Her in-laws lived in Englewood at the time, and that’s what brought her to the area.
“My husband’s family lived here and we visited the area and decided to move down. I was here for about two years and then my sister decided to move here. I had two kids at the time and was pregnant with my third. I was living in a community of bad influences and didn’t want to expose my children to that kind of environment,” Renee said. “It’s always been my dream to live in Florida and I am blessed to be enjoying it now. I feel like I really lucked out.”
Renee has three children: Brandon, who will be 11 in November; Destiny, who will turn 10 in November; and Catherine, age four. The older two attend The Island School and Catherine will start next fall.
“How many people can actually say that their kids go to school on an island? That’s pretty cool and I think they are making some very good memories here,” Renee said. Renee lives in Englewood with her significant other, Blake, the kids and their two dogs. Renee’s sister Jennifer works at South Beach Grille in Boca Grande.
“She is enjoying it, this time of year it’s less busy and she gets to go outside and take a break and look at the water, and it’s so beautiful,” Renee said.
Renee works at The Loose Caboose Restaurant in Boca Grande, which was closed at the time of this interview, but Renee said employees have been in the establishment all week working and renovating. She has worked at The Loose Caboose full time for more than four years. It was her first (and only) job in Florida since she relocated to the area.
“My mother-in-law knew the owner and she mentioned there was an opening, and she asked Blanche to give me a shot – which she did. I was only supposed to be a seasonal employee, but here I am four years later … so I guess I must have proven myself,” Renee said.
Renee said she loves working in Boca Grande because of all the people she meets.
“I really enjoy meeting the people in this town and seeing everyone on a regular basis,” she said. “Many of the locals will stop in and then tell us when they’ll be back next – they’re pretty friendly.”
Her father, Ray Osborne, lives in Englewood. Renee has one other sister who lives in Tennessee. When she is not working, Renee and her family enjoy fishing the inland waters by boat or fishing from local piers whenever they get the opportunity.
She also enjoys bass meets. Bass meets are when a group of people get together on an outdoor field and compete for how loud their audio equipment can blast music. The contest is measured with a decibel tester to see which person can produce the loudest sound. “We usually meet in Bradenton on a ten acre property where the owners give us their permission to use it,” Renee said. “And the winners get their names posted for being able to produce the loudest music – basically they get bragging rights.” Renee said there are usually about 100 people who attend the meets that occur every few weeks.
She said her oldest daughter has fun at the events and she does “hair tricks.” A hair trick is when a person is sitting in a car with the windows down with their long hair (worn down) and the music is turned up so loud that their hair literally blows and flows in the wind from the vibes of the music. “The police do get called, but there is not much they can do because we have permission from the owners to use the property. So unless people are acting crazy or out of control, they just leave us alone,” Renee said. Renee said the kids like to participate in the bass meets as well. “Last time they played ‘Let It Go’ from the movie Frozen and my oldest was having a blast – her hair was really going,” Renee said.
The family also likes to take day trips around Florida whenever they get the chance. One of their favorite places to visit is Busch Gardens in Tampa. “We like to live like tourists since we aren’t from here originally. Busch Gardens is probably our favorite thing to do together as a family. The kids really enjoy it – they love it there,” Renee said.
They also like traveling down to Fort Myers and exploring the beaches and shops in that area. Renee said her job title at The Loose Caboose is “Ice Cream Maker,” but after working there for four years, she essentially knows how to do most of the job duties at the establishment. “I bus, I serve, I work the kitchen, I do dishes … you name it,” she said.
Renee said her favorite movies are the Twilight sagas. “I could sit down and watch them every day with a bag of popcorn and a nice, soft blanket,” she said. “My oldest daughter Destiny likes to watch them, too, and my son, Brandon, will tolerate it if he is in the room. But eventually he will leave and go out and mow the lawn or something.”
The family has two dogs and is currently fostering a dog for Tank’s Legacy, which is a non-profit organization that was recently started by Loose Caboose owner Blanch Vedette. “Blanche actually named it after one of the dogs that she fostered that passed away,” Renee said. “She ended up adopting him and he lived with her for about 12 or 13 years. So that’s where the name came from.”
The organization is currently looking for foster families to host the dogs. “I am only fostering one dog at a time because I have two dogs of my own and the three kids, which is a lot to keep up with,” Renee said. “Frankie” the foster dog, named after Frank Sinatra, is currently waiting for a permanent, loving home. He earned his name because of his beautiful, bright blue eyes. If you would like more information, search for Tank’s Legacy on Facebook.
Renee said she is most proud of her personal accomplishment to relocate her family to Florida. “I was in a very bad environment and knew my kids wouldn’t be able to do really well in such negative surroundings, so I just decided one day to pack up and move. And I do realize that I am very, very blessed to come to a place like this. I’m very thankful.”