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2019 'On The Road' update: Bonnie Van Allen

The close-knit community banded together to help a beloved woman get back on the water.
Credit: Doug Morse

HOMOSASSA, Fla. — I drove more than two hours to meet a woman who locals already knew was a blessing to their town. Locals call Bonnie Van Allen “The Bait Lady.” She was one of my favorite interviews of 2019.

She is an example of incredible determination and by an 80-year-old woman, no less.

Back in August, her bait boat capsized in Homosassa. She trod water for more than two hours while calling for help on her cell phone. She watched her livelihood sink.

Eventually, help came. After she was rescued and her boat hauled back to shore, we then got to watch the community revive that livelihood.

People around town who love Bonnie all got together to rebuild her iconic boat. Her boat, with the very recognizable shrimp statue on top, was back on the water within nine weeks.

Her boat is back from the dead just a few weeks after she thought she'd lose her boat and her life.

This one was a beautiful update to a story that could have ended in tragedy, but instead highlighted the love for a woman who means so much to her community.

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