FORT MYERS, Fla. - A South Fort Myers community spent the day supporting Robert Lerberg. He's the 72-year-old man who was the victim of a violent random attack last week. The incident left him heartbroken. But tonight, he says he is eternally grateful.
What started as something terrible, a heartless act, has turned into something great. "He's got some friends in the community that he doesn't know but he'll know today and forever will be friends," Cale Frederick said.
He and other people from all over southwest Florida united Saturday to honor Robert Lerberg. The 72-year-old was attacked last week while picking weeds in his garden, allegedly at the hands of a 15-year-old Cypress Lake High Student.
"I was sick. I was very angry. I wanted to do something right away," Sherry Fredrickson said.
"Today is a good day," Brad Rothenberg said. "It's great people have put this effort together and it's just an opportunity to show the good in the community that is at Cypress Lake High School and make people feel good about Lee County."
The group marched from the high school to Lerberg's home in hopes of leaving him with a much happier memory of his garden. Applause resonated as he walked outside to greet them. "It's so nice of all you people," Lerberg said. "I can not put into words how grateful I am for your support."
Restaurants and landscaping companies donated gift certificates and services. Complete strangers offered hugs and a few kind words. "The Cypress Lake community supports you and we don't approve of anything wrong they did," the high school's Principal Tracy Perkins said.
Freshly covered with mulch, Lerberg's garden now blooms with new plants. His home sparkles with christmas lights and decorations, all things he lost last year in a house fire. The group's efforts prove that good always triumphs over evil.
"I was very happy to see them," Lerberg said. "I have been happy to see them ever since they've been there and I will be sorry to see them leave because I am so appreciative of them and it is so nice to have people like this here."
Cale Frederick, the organizer of today's event tells us this isn't the end. He has even more good deeds planned for Lerberg in the future.