Cruising Shoal Line Boulevard through Hernando Beach isn't just a beautiful way to embrace Florida's coast. It also enlightens visitors to a community that is dotted with beautiful homes and small businesses, including some of the area's best eateries.
It is also a community that, when faced with a crisis in their neighborhood, bands together to support each other.
On Sunday, the community will come together at RBeach, 4054 Shoal Line Blvd., for a benefit for the family of a man who suffered a terrible accident.
Charlie Corradini, an independent subcontractor for a major software company and a long-time resident of the beach, is known for donating his time and skill to help others in need.
His wife, Tammie Sue Corradini, is a local entertainer who also donates much of her time appearing for benefits. And the couple's son, Chaz, owns a fishing charter, A Little Tail, and regularly donates for worthy causes.
On March 15, Charlie Corradini suffered burns over 37 percent of his body when he tried to refresh a bonfire by throwing fuel into the pit.
"He was a farmer all his life," said friend Melanie Grossi. "They always did it that way."
Grossi and her husband, Jim, had been out with the Corradinis celebrating Jim's birthday. As the Grossis headed home, Melanie received a phone call notifying her that Charlie had been burned in a accident.
"He was on fire for approximately 27 seconds before he tucked and rolled," Melanie said.
Charlie was taken to Oak Hill Hospital, then airlifted to Tampa General where he is still undergoing skin graphing and surgeries to help repair the damage. His battle toward recovery is just beginning.
When they heard about the accident, Hernando Beach residents and business owners jumped in to help. "Just a few days before the accident, Charlie was helping install a chairlift for a resident," Melanie said. "We had to do something to help him and his family."
The VFW Post 9236 immediately jumped in to offer support for the family while Charlie is in the hospital. He underwent surgery on April 1 and will remain hospitalized for some time.
"As a subcontractor, he doesn't get paid if he doesn't work," Melanie explained. So the community is helping to raise money to support the family while Charlie recovers.
Leslie Tomlinson, owner of Leslie's Bistro, began donating 20 percent of all food sales at her Shoal Line Boulevard establishment when she heard about Charlie's battle. She will continue to donate that amount through the end of April.
Contempo Hair Salon is also donating 20 percent of sales through April.
On Sunday, RBeach will host a benefit in Charlie's honor. Praying for Charlie Fundraiser will begin at 1 p.m. and serve a buffet-style luncheon for $20 a ticket. The menu will include a few of RBeach's signature dishes including sausage and peppers and pork and rice.
Fred Javidi, owner of RBeach, is giving 100 percent of ticket sales directly to the Corradini family. Javidi is a strong advocate of charitable functions and has hosted many at his famous Hernando Beach restaurant. There will be drinks available for purchase, he said.
"But I'm giving 100 percent of the ticket sales. It's the first time I've ever done that. I usually give 10 percent but Charlie is one of us and it's all about him."
Leslie's Bistro is also helping organize the benefit in addition to her donations from food sales at her bistro.
Tickets can be purchased at the door for cash only. Javidi encouraged support. "If we run out of food, we'll make more," he said.
Email Hernando Today correspondent Kim Dame at email@example.com.