Listen to Scott Harris Giving a Public Service Announcement
Listen to Scott Harris Being Interviewed on WJNO Radio
Listen to Scott Harris Being Interviewed by Kathy Green on WJTW 103.9 FM
Listen to Peter Schulz of Fishing Headquarters Give a Public Service Announcement
Artificial reefs to enhance marine environment
Jupiter’s summer of 2014 could be remembered for many things, but not many more significant than a young man’s legacy rising from tragedy in our watery paradise.
Driven by love and memory, many businesses and individuals are joining local insurance executive Scott Harris in continuing the legacy of his son Andrew “Red” Harris, 26, who tragically died after being struck by a boat, while snorkeling June 8 near the Jupiter Inlet.
The Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation aims to enhance the Jupiter area marine environment by building exclusively artificial reefs – named in his honor – to be placed offshore for the enjoyment of current and future generations.
“It’s for those who love Jupiter and northern Palm Beach County, just as he did,” Scott Harris paused, remembering his son.
IMAGES IN YOUR HEAD
At about 4:15 p.m. that Sunday in June, Scott was out on the golf links when he got the emergency call to go to Jupiter Medical Center. Then again, to go farther south, to St. Mary’s where his son had been Trauma-hawked
Andrew had been out on the boat all day with six people,” his dad recalled. And he was “so excited” about his younger brother Ryan getting signed with the Boston Red Sox.
“Andrew and a girl were snorkeling,” Harris said of the incident. “She got swept away on an incoming tide at the north jetty. And he was towing her back, when a boat came,” Harris said. “He shoved her,” Harris said. “And he got pushed backwards and under water. The girl was grazed by the boat,” Harris said. “But he got hit.”
“People … were screaming,” he continued, quoting reports. “There were people on paddle boards” who had been at Jupiter Inlet Colony beach, coming to help somehow.
A man in another boat recovered Andrew from the bottom of the inlet, according to Harris. “But he was already dead,” Harris said of his son. “He was dead by the time he reached the bottom of the inlet.”
Andrew was a Jupiter High School 2006 graduate who had gone to Florida State University graduating with a degree in insurance and entrepreneurship.
“He just wanted to do what I do… run an insurance agency,” Harris said straightforwardly. And into that world he thrust himself, from January 2011 on.
“People liked him. They flocked to him. He was good at what he did.”
About 1,000 people attended Andrew’s funeral at Jupiter First Church, on June 13.
“We don’t want him to be forgotten,” Harris said pensively.
“He was building a legacy on his own. He had a legacy by his friends and the respect they have for him.”
THINGS BEGIN TO HAPPEN
Since then, things have begun to happen.
News of the tragedy and his dad’s efforts have started a “beacon of fund-raising,” Harris said one afternoon, coming in from talking with owners of five local dive shops. “And they approached me… to give customers our flyer!”
They wanted to do dive trips, fund-raisers – to link from their websites.
“And that’s all about fund-raising … part of the mission … since all of the marine industries benefit from enhancement to the environment, And all of the money goes to building the reefs!”
The first challenge is to get people to the 501(c)(3) organization’s foundation website, downloading the donor form and contributing.
Challenges ahead include reef materials, and getting a staging site to stockpile near the Port of Palm Beach. Actual reef sites are dependent upon materials used.
“We’re trying to get this to every marine business now. They’re all getting on board. Everyone wants to bend over backwards and do what they can.”
Other related events are happening to Harris’ benefit, like one to provide materials courtesy of Palm Beach County and Fish and Wildlife Commission, who just two weeks ago completed a $120,000 project off the Juno Pier, Harris said. “And projected for the summer of 2016, all of those bridges have to be replaced. So it’s already in the specs that they must use the materials for artificial reefs.”
Harris confidently says, “It’s coming. It’s good. You’re going to love it. And it’s going to stay.”
Visit the website at http://AndrewRedHarrisFoundation.org to learn more. You can also visit its Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/AndrewRedHarrisFoundation. If you want to be notified of developments, send a friend request to Scott Harris’ Facebook page to get the latest updates. If curious about the “tree,” google “symbolism of color.”
For the golf-minded, the foundation’s first golf tournament fund-raiser is slated at Tequesta Country Club on Oct. 12.
The tournament will include a great silent auction on Oct. 11 and 12 with a treasure trove of auction items that can’t be bought elsewhere. Non-golfers can participate by sponsoring the tournament or buying lunch and silent auction-only tickets for $25 through the AndrewRedHarrisFoundation.org website.
TIME TO HELP
“Andrew Harris loved our local waters, whether it was hunting for fish and lobsters offshore and in the Bahamas or just snorkeling and watching the ‘wildlife’ off the beach and in the Intracoastal Waterway,” a foundation news release states.
“All reefs will be created under the direction of the appropriate environmental agencies and the Palm Beach County Department of Environmental Resource Management.”
The ambitious project will develop reefs in depths appropriate for SCUBA divers, and smaller reefs, near shore, in depths for snorkelers.
Harris is initially aiming for two reefs, both off Juno Beach, with one to lie in 30 feet of water, the other in 80.
Sounds like what Andrew would have wanted.
Let’s make this happen.
The Jupiter Courier Newsweekly
Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation Golf Tournament
MORE THAN YOUR USUAL
Charity golf tournaments, it seems sometimes, are a dime a dozen, especially this time of year when a greater selection of golf courses is available during our “off-season.”
Indeed, the course as much as the cause can often make the difference in whether or not a tournament is successful. Not everybody can play in every tournament no matter how worthy the charity, nor how exclusive the venue.
Three dozen years ago, we tried to track local charity golf tournaments in Palm Beach County for a year, and came up with an estimate of about $200,000 in funds raised. It seemed low at the time, and it seems even more so three dozen years hence.
Just a month ago, the Honda Classic announced it would distribute $2.55 million to local children’s charities. Of course, any PGA Tour event is a different animal than your annual Rotary/Chamber of Commerce/Cancer Society fund-raiser, so that might not be a fair comparison.
MORE THAN …
Sometimes it’s more than the money, more than the golf course, more than your usual scholarship-financing/program-driven fund-raiser.
The inaugural Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation golf tournament may become one of those that is “more than” many of the others on a number of counts. Scheduled Oct. 12 at Tequesta Country Club, the Harris tournament is the start of an initiative to build artificial reefs off the northern Palm Beach County shoreline so that 50 years from now, they will still be remembering Andrew “Red” Harris.
A 2006 graduate of Jupiter High School where he earned all-county honors in both golf and basketball, Harris went on to Florida State University, where he graduated four years later. Over the years, he developed a great love of local waters whether it was scuba diving for fish and lobster offshore and in the Bahamas or just snorkeling and watching the aquatic wildlife off our beaches or in the Intracoastal Waterway.
Tragically, it all ended in June when Andrew died after being struck by a boat while snorkeling. Worse, if that’s possible, this horrific afternoon for the Harris family was just 24 hours after what had been the family’s best day as brother Ryan was drafted by the Boston Red Sox. He’s now playing for Lowell, Mass., in the short-season NYP League.
To make sure that Andrew would not be forgotten, his family – including his parents, Scott and Martha, sister Christina and Ryan – and many of their friends have formed the foundation “to make sure he would not be forgotten and to build his legacy,” Scott says.
While we all might cope in different ways when faced with such a tragedy, Scott Harris has found his healing by working in behalf of the foundation to build artificial reefs that years from now will be recognizing Andrew “Red” Harris.
This first landmark reef will likely be roughly off the Juno Pier. To qualify for naming rights takes a contribution of $40,000, according to the elder Harris.
JUST THE BEGINNING
This first golf tournament is just the beginning.
Devon Harkness, who played high school golf with Andrew, and his father, Fred Harkness, who recently retired as head professional at Jonathan’s Landing, are putting the pieces together. There will be a shotgun start at 9 a.m. preceded by breakfast and followed by an awards luncheon. The $150 per player entry also covers the usual golf fees and gift bag.
A wine-tasting reception at the club Saturday evening will be the start of a silent auction, which will continue through play Sunday. “We have some outstanding memorabilia donated by local athletes and celebrities,” Harris says.
Playing at Tequesta is a personal step back in time for Harris. “I rode my bicycle and delivered papers in the Tequesta community when I was a teenager in the 1970s,” he recalls. “I could never imagine playing on a course that pristine.”
Set-N-Sun, a nine-hole par-3 on the Loxahatchee River Road which long ago succumbed to developers, “was where we learned to play.”
Today, he owns the home-based Group Insurance Solutions and heads a foundation that memorializes his son and insures Andrew’s lasting recognition.
For more information, call Harris at 561-718-7348 or go to http://andrewredharrisfoundation.org.
Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
September 2014 Coastal Angler Magazine Article on The Andrew Red Harris Foundation
The family and friends of Andrew “Red’ Harris have created a foundation that bears his name. Visit the website and you will learn the story of an incredible young man that made a huge impact in his very short life. Andrew loved the ocean and waterways in northern Palm Beach County, hunting for fish and lobster as well as witnessing the beauty that was the habitat. The foundation seeks to honor him by “building artificial reefs to enhance the marine environment” in our area. Their intention is to build large new reefs for scuba divers as well as smaller reefs near shore for snorkelers.
A golf tournament fundraiser will be hosted by Tequesta Country Club on October 12th with luncheon and silent auction. Everyone is welcome to join the golfers at the events. Tickets are available on the website, as well as additional information concerning the foundation and Andrew’s story. Visit: www.AndrewRedHarrisFoundation.org and learn what you can do to take part in this effort.
WPTV News Clip on The Andrew Red Harris Foundation
Wednesday, Sept. 17, 2014
By Barbara Marshall – Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
How can one weekend hold so much joy and such a bottomless well of pain?
The first Saturday in June, Scott and Martha Harris got word that their youngest son, Ryan, a 21-year-old star pitcher on the University of Florida baseball team, was a draft pick for the Boston Red Sox.
Perhaps you can imagine their parental pride.
But can you conceive of their heartbroken devastation the next day? Their oldest son, Andrew, 26, was struck and killed by a boat while snorkeling in the Jupiter Inlet.
Friends and witnesses say the experienced diver and spearfisherman may have been trying to rescue a friend as two boats were coming into the inlet. The first boat swerved. Andrew was struck by the second. No charges were filed in the accident.
What do you do with that kind of grief?
If you’re Scott Harris, you work obsessively on building a memorial to your lost son. An artificial reef, for a young man who loved the ocean.
“I’m doing this so I don’t have to deal with my grief all at once,” said Scott, who owns Group Insurance Solutions in Jupiter.
He’s formed the non-profit Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation, with the mission of building an underwater reef for future generations of divers.
“Our basic message is we don’t want Andrew to be forgotten,” said Scott. “We want to extend his legacy and his name will be on it.”
If all goes as planned, “Red’s Reef” will rise from the sea bottom in northern Palm Beach County waters early next summer, likely between the Jupiter Inlet and the Juno Beach pier.
“He loved that ocean more than anything,” said Troy Zielasko, his former roommate at Florida State University, who lives in Boynton Beach. “He would talk for hours about how much he loved Jupiter and the ocean. It was his ocean.”
Nobody ever called him Andrew but his parents.
It was always “Red.”
When your hair is the color of an Irish setter and you play sports, a nickname comes with the territory.
Tall and square-jawed, “Red” Harris played basketball at Jupiter High School before earning a business degree at FSU, then coming home to follow in his father’s footsteps by opening his own insurance agency.
Vonk recalled his buddy’s passion for Scuba diving.
“I don’t think anyone was a water man like “Red” was. Nobody liked being underwater quite like Andrew did,” said Vonk.
Andrew’s mother, Martha, wipes her eyes when she remembers the underwater videos her son shot for her.
“I’m a nervous diver,” she said, “so I got Andrew a GoPro (video camera) for Christmas. That way, I could dive the reefs vicariously through his videos. I loved his videos.”
Red’s Reef will be the second memorial reef in Palm Beach County and one of more than 60 in Palm Beach County waters.
Working with Palm Beach County’s Environment Resources Management, family and friends of Palm Beach Central High School student Danny McCauley, a passionate diver and fisherman, scuttled a 110-foot tugboat in his honor north of the Lake Worth Inlet last year.
Scott Harris would like the reef to grow in length through the years, as the foundation buys and sinks vessels as well as clean concrete debris, an idea aligned with ERM’s mission.
“If you can do something like a ship, then a pile of rock, maybe a barge, then concrete debris in alignment, you can swim from place to place along the way for a mile or so,” said Carmen Vare, environmental supervisor at ERM. “We have permits already from the state and the feds. We can streamline what Scott wants to do within our permitted sites.”
Vare says he’s enthusiastic about the Harris family’s proposal. ERM will even fund up to 75 percent of the cost, as long as the material and location meet state and federal regulations.
“If someone can come up with $10,000 or 25 percent of cost of project, whichever is greater, we’ll pay the rest,” said Vare.
A derelict vessel can cost $30,000 or more, he said.
The Harris Foundation has already raised about $50,000 with a variety of fundraisers scheduled this month and next, with more planned in the months ahead.
Scott Harris’ goal is to sink the first part of Red’s Reef on June 8, the anniversary of his son’s death.
Martha Harris says there’s no better memorial for Andrew.
“The water was what he lived for,” she said softly. “Boating, fishing, diving, those are all the things he loved.”
Help build “Red’s Reef”
Sept. 27: Tennis tournament and silent auction at Golf & Racquet Club of Eastpointe, Palm Beach Gardens, 9:30 a.m., $75 admission. Register by Sept. 22, email@example.com; 561-373-1457.
Oct. 12: Golf tournament, lunch and silent auction including golf foursomes at more than 15 area courses, Tequesta Country Club, $25; andrewredharrisfoundation.org. (Not necessary to enter tournament to attend lunch and auction.)
Donations to the Andrew “Red” Harris Foundation, a 501c3 non-profit organization, can be made at www.andrewredharrisfoundation.org, 561-718-7348.
By: Jon Shainman for WPTV West Palm Beach
Posted: 7:14 PM, Oct 12, 2014
TEQUESTA, Fla. – In golf, the idea is to keep the ball out of the water.
But a charity event Sunday in Tequesta will help put something special back in the water.
“Sad and tragic the reason that we’re doing it, but sometimes that’s what it takes to get everyone together,” said Scott Harris.
More than 140 golfers came out to the greens of the Tequesta Country Club, to honor “Red”, Andrew “Red” Harris.
“Just a great friend, great person, great guy to always be around,” said cousin Miles Mikolas.
The 26 year-old Harris died in June when he was struck by a boat while snorkeling.
“Andrew was all about the ocean. He’d dive every day of the week if he could,” said Andrew’s father Scott.
In Andrew’s memory, a foundation has been set up in his name, to create artificial reefs off the northern Palm Beach County coastline.
“They’re going to be 1,000-feet long by 150-feet wide reef corridors made of retired ships and construction materials,” said Scott Harris.
“As a representative of the town, I’m excited to be supportive of this effort and look forward to working with the group,” said Jupiter Vice Mayor Ilan Kaufer, who added more reefs could bring added eco-tourism to the region.
With a year end goal of 100-thousand dollars, the foundation had already raised 85-thousand before Sunday’s tournament.
“I’m just really glad that everybody came and showed their support. Really great feeling for our family,” said Ryan Harris, Andrew’s brother.
For more info about foundation, click here:
Copyright 2014 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.