FORT MYERS, Fla. - Hundreds of people in the community have rallied around a Fort Myers man who was violently kicked over, all while a group recorded the incident on a cell phone camera. It's been a week and a half since the Lee County Sheriff's Office released that video. Saturday, friends and strangers will offer their time and money to help make things right.
Deputies say a 15-year-old Cypress Lake High School student kicked Robert Lerberg to the ground as the 72-year-old was picking weeds in his yard. It's painful experience that lingers each time he returns to his garden. " After I am done, sitting there, laughing at me," Lerberg remembered seeing from the ground. "There are no words to express how that makes me feel."
Viewers were so outraged, they stepped in to help. "That's not what Fort Myers and Cape Coral is about, what happened to him. It hurt us to see that happen," Denise Houghtaling of MW Horticulture Recycling in Estero said.
What started as a Facebook page called Fort Myers Supports Robert Lerberg gathered to 545 likes, and grew into a community-wide effort. Saturday, strangers and soon-to-be new friends are bringing gardening supplies, donations and their support to Lerberg and his garden.
"We are going to give him a $200 certificate for future use where we can bring him a load when he is ready for his next project in his garden," Houghtaling said.
That group includes students and faculty from Cypress Lake High School.
"Unfortunately, when you have 1,600 students, some make wonderful decisions and that's the majority of our population. Some make poor decisions and they just happen to go to our school," Cypress Lake Principal Tracy Perkins said.
More than just sprucing up his yard, the group is hoping to right a wrong so that when Lerberg sees his garden, he'll only be reminded of the of good still flourishing around him.
"It is helping to erase the memory of her standing over me laughing at me," Lerberg said.
"Lee County cares about him," Houghtaling said. "And, we want to make things right and heal his pain from what he went through."
The group will meet Saturday at 1:30 p.m. at Cypress Lake High School. The organizer tells us they'll walk to Lerberg's home around 2:00 p.m.
For more information, visit the Fort Myers Supports Robert Lerberg Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/supportRobertLerberg