An aerial view of the Fills in Islamorada during the Fourth of July. The area was closed off to the public during the holiday weekend as a COVID-19-protection measure. DAVID GROSS/Contributed

Peaceful Waters (which aims to preserve the uniqueness of Islamorada and protect  surrounding waters) started on the advice of Islamorada Councilman Ken Davis. 

Ken Davis was the first person to listen, and the first person to offer a hand up. For a long time, it felt like he was the only friend we had on our side. Ken stuck with us all the way through to the end, just as promised. 

We are forever grateful for the extra year of Ken’s life that blessed all who knew him. 

Davis used that year to the fullest. He stayed the course, and continued his fight against the many quality of life issues affecting Islamorada residents. A Peaceful Waters member described Ken’s leadership: “You could always ask him anything, and if he didn’t have the answer he would get it for you, or point you in the right direction.”

His last phone call to us was out of selfless concern that we and our neighbors were making it through Labor Day weekend. 

Below is the email blast drafted just before his sudden medical emergency. It is with great respect and much sadness that we share it with the community despite Ken’s absence:

After making his mark by leading the charge to gain control of the Fills just over a year ago, Councilman Ken Davis noticed heated discussions online about what had become of the raft-up party scene in the waters adjacent to White Marlin and Port Antigua beaches. Having essentially succumbed to defeat, many of us were starting to face the grim fact that there was no hope of chasing the situation. 

Then, Ken Davis reached out on social media and left his personal phone number, asking us to call him so he could help. 

As ‘party beach’ quickly grew out of control, residents’ quality of life conditions rapidly deteriorated. Mr. Davis fielded more than a few intense phone calls from our members over the past year. But no matter what, Ken always answered his phone and returned emails. Even after a major health scare, Ken got right back into his council seat, and continued to  advocate for our group and clean up the Fills, while addressing COVID-19 concerns and its impact on our village. 

Peaceful Waters credits Mr. Davis having a sharp eye on social media. Ken could see the red flags and offered his support when it became apparent that we were in dire straits on Lower Mat. 

Ken doubled down on his commitment: Paraphrasing Mr. Davis’ comments during the Aug. 12 special call meeting, if this first step doesn’t effect the desired positive change, we will follow through with additional measures. 

In a village unique as ours, with a small population of residents vulnerable to massive outside influence, it is imperative that we residents have accessible council members who will accomplish that delicate balance between residents’ quality of life and the local economy driven by tourism upon which many of us depend. 

Ken Davis proved over and over that he would fight for that balance.   

— Peaceful Waters

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