The Swamp Buggy Races are a unique Southwest Florida tradition. Here we meet a wonderful family who’s love for the races, and their perseverance is inspiring. Tyler and Lorrie Johns are a veteran buggy race mother and son team, and they share with us their perspective of what it’s like to endure loss and what the Swamp Buggy Races mean to them and their family. Lorrie and Tyler are all smiles as they prepare for the event, despite the loss of Tyler’s left arm during a freak airboat incident last May. The pair each share their perspective of what it’s like to endure loss and what the Swamp Buggy Races mean to them and their family.
In hearing his story, it becomes clear that Tyler has a persevering nature, solidifying my sense that the stories I had previously read about his personality precisely emulate his “in real life” one. Tyler’s tone, coming from a place of gratitude, perfectly exemplifies just how positive a man he is as he explains how thankful he is to have made it out alive. He knows that he is not alone; there are many children, and war veterans persevere and succeed after losing limbs. He tells his story, remembering what it was like when he first discovered that he would lose an arm:
“People are born every day with limb differences, you know we have our troops overseas guys are losing arms and legs and they inspire me to do what I’m doing. When they told me I didn’t have my arm, I was fine with it, I was alive I was breathing my wife and daughter and parents were there that was all that mattered to me, that I was coming home.”
Tyler’s mother, Lorrie, opens up to us and shares about the loss of her daughter. A little over a year ago, the Johns’ lost their youngest daughter, Lisa. Standing in front of her buggy, “Lady Liberty” which is dedicated to Lisa, Lorrie illustrates a mother’s perspective of surviving after a loss and what the Swamp Buggy Races mean to her and her family. A buggy racer herself, Lorrie has a thorough understanding of the sport and the risks involved and is a two-time recipient of the Bud Cup. Though Lorrie sometimes experiences fear and anxiety before the races, racing is not only an important family tradition that she holds near and dear to her heart it’s also part of who she is. Her words pridefully spill out a pure and honest testimony to the love she has for her family and meaning The Swamp Buggy Races hold for the Johns’ family.
Despite all that the Johns’ family has recently endured, they seek to inspire others with their story and act as living proof that life can go on despite tragedy and loss.