Dying to Get Here

“They come for the freedoms most Americans take for granted.” - Matt Lawrence

Dying to Get Here: A Story of Coming to America was born on a summer’s day as we circled a raft adrift in the Florida Straits – and watched a young woman work feverishly fending off a reticent shark with a homemade oar. There was a certain feeling of helplessness in the cockpit as the predator played his prey by coming close enough to force her to swing, but staying far enough away from the inner raft – that’d she’d miss.

The game played out for the hour or so it took the Coast Guard to scramble a helicopter out to us. Upon their arrival on scene, Captain Steve Walton sorted out the situation with the rescue crew – and took us to the airspace one thousand feet above the scene thus allowing the Coast Guard to work uninhibited in the airspace five hundred feet and below. The typical scenario for most basket lift rescues we worked. That summer’s day we witnessed – the definition of determination, desire and damnation – the primal fight a woman so motivated to make it to freedom that she skillfully eliminated an apex predator as it stood in the way of her family’s rescue – and we further watched in amazement at the work of an extremely gutsy – yet ultra-professional – Coast Guard crew.

For years I shared the story in some of Key West’s finest establishments to anyone who would listen – and they all had the same reply, “You should write a book!” And so, Dying to Get Here was born! Today, Dying to Get Here is in a re-write – as a screenplay – a genre that fills my love for telling a tale without so much as having to add the fluff. It’s a work in progress as I let the characters tell their incredible story beginning in the weeks before they flee Cuba and the tribulations they experienced just to be able to do so.

It’s the first of a few new releases in my series – Tales from the Tropix – I hope you enjoy them!
Read Excerpts Now
Commanding Officer, USCGC Sitkinak (WPB1329).
“Matt recounts the horrors of the Florida Straits with exacting accuracy. It is as if he’s had to undertake the unfortunate task of taking to the seas for the sake of freedom himself.”
Excerpts from Dying to Get Here
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