A Humann Interest Story
By Renee Burrell
They're every where! This IRB sticker on the bumper of a Humvee at sandy Camp Phoenix in the mountains of Ahghanistan, was affixed by Army Master Sergeant, Andy Humann.
INDIAN ROCKS BEACH - A popular BLOG recently featured this article's accompanying photo taken in Afghanistan by decorated soldier, Andy Humann, member of the 10th Special Forces Group who recently returned from his third tour of duty in Afghanistan. Humann is a recipient of the Bronze Star for bravery in combat and also served two tours in Iraq.
Humann and his sister, Rika Freeman, attended Dunedin High School, and Freeman has been an Indian Rocks Beach (IRB) resident for the past three years. She said, "When Andy was visiting, he was amazed at how many IRB stickers he saw in town and noticed that ALL of my friends have them. He asked for one for his car in Stuttgart, Germany, and then asked for extras to take abroad. He promised to send me a picture of one on a camel but I'm still waiting."
No one at Camp Phoenix recognized the bumper sticker. "No one had been to IRB .... they don't know what they are missing!," said Humann. "All of the U.S. soldiers in Iraq and Afghanistan would prefer their sand to have the Atlantic, Pacific or Gulf of Mexico attached to it.
The image Humann did send of the sticker on the Humvee has fueled his sister and her friends. Freeman said, "That spawned the idea of taking them with us when we travel for more photo ops .... and we joke about publishing a coffee table book. I think it would be a great photo contest for the beach newspaper to hold -- for "The Most Obscure", or 'Farthest from IRB', etc..."
When asked what's so great about IRB, Freeman said she loves the community because, ". . . you can walk to so many places. I drive to Oldsmar every day for work so I try not to drive on the weekends. I either walk or ride my bike. Luckily we have such great restaurants like Guppy's, Keegan's, Tao, Red Lion, etc … and convenient shops like USA Grocery, Fruit Peddler, and Kooky Kokonut, so I don't have to go over the bridge on the weekends. I have come to love the sense of community that a small town provides. I see people I know when I'm riding my bike, on the beach or in restaurants. I love that we have Mayor R.B. Johnson looking out for IRB and that he will protect the 'vibe' and limit over-development and commercialization. I also like that we are a 'town' and all the great things that come with that frame of mind. One of my best friends works at Nekton so I have been involved in some community efforts through the shop and that is rewarding. The frequent festivals are also a real bonus. I haven't been to movies in the park yet but am looking forward to when that resumes in the fall."
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