Wow, Christine and I were overwhelmed and humbled today with the posts and phone calls, it's almost like going to your own funeral. We're extremely grateful that we were able to run Tenoroc for 13 years. We remember the early days when we slept on the floor at nights because we worked so late and couldn't drive the hour+ back to Tampa. In those early days we were happy to see 4,000 people a year, now we have almost 30,000 visitors each year.
Our two girls grew up helping us run the family business, Rachel carried much of what she learned into the Army where she's now a 1st Lt, Heather graduates college in 4 months. We're trying to count how many folks we've employed and lost count at 60. I'm proud we were able to give kids like Matt, Kristin and James a way to work through high school and college and prouder still of what they've made of their lives. Cubby started working at Tenoroc when he was 15 and is still with us at 28 after taking what he learned to run his family business for a couple years. We've helped over a dozen guys transition from military service with Chad still with us 3 years after leaving the Corps and Fester working his way into the Corps with us.
I learned the value of giving a man dignity in his last days as we employed 4 men with terminal illnesses, all who worked with us until the end. We made shooting a viable and respectable way for countless charities to raise money.
We've hosted over 1,000 charity shoots which raised over $2,000,000 in profit for the charities: schools, churches, veterans organizations, shelters for abused women and children and conservation groups. I was in a non shooting charity event today and was teamed up with an amputee veteran, Rudy. We recognized each other from the range where once a month we donate the use of the facility to the VA hospital in Tampa to help amputee vets learn their disability doesn't have to prevent them from participating in the activities they love.
Training was important enough to us to make the word part of our business name and I can't count how many people have learned gun safety, marksmanship and hopefully other skills and lessons at Tenoroc either through formal lessons or just the helping hand all of our RO's are willing to give those on the line. Personally, I have had the satisfaction of helping several women, victims of violent attacks, transform from a feeling of helplessness (literally crying when they first touched a firearm) to feeling empowered and back in charge of their lives. I've watched parents share the passion with their children, relatives and neighbors and in 3 instances have had "kids" I taught how to shoot for the first time in their teens bring their young sons to me for training.
So we could be saddened by the loss of our livihood and the end of these memories being made but that's a half glass full way of looking at life and goes counter to everything we've learned. Christine and I will now focus 100% on Ultimate Arms. We'll still serve the Lakeland shooting community and we'll still conduct business on a handshake. We're starting the process of building an indoor shooting range on the property and intend to carry on our goal of providing folks a place to shoot safely and have a good time. We obviously can't do anything with rifles or shotguns indoors but maybe something will come up in the future. I think you can look forward to most of our staff joining us and maintaining the shooting family.
The State intends to hire government employees to run Tenoroc as they did 14 years ago before us. No team is in place or hired yet. These decisions were made prior to the election and we've taken our cause as high as we can. Perhaps a grass root effort can change their minds and Christine and I would love to see their decision reversed and have the opportunity to continue doing what we love and having you all visit us at the range. The two best people to contact in Tallahassee would be Nick Wiley 850-487-3796 or Greg Holder 850-487-3796.
I hope you all continue to shoot and pass the tradition on to your friends and relatives. MARK