In the Vero Lake Estates garage of Scott Lahodik, there are thousands of golf balls. They are piled high in crates and stuffed into sacks.
“This is how my dad has supported our family since forever. This is our sole source of income," said son Richard Klatt.
Klatt had been on the phone with his dad Friday shortly before Lahodik went into the water at the Rotunda Golf and Country Club in Charlotte County to collect golf balls at one of many courses around the state, and the country, where he dives.
“In over 30 years, he’s never had one issue," said Klatt.
But Lahodik had an issue Friday when a gator grabbed him.
“He just came at me full blast, grabbed my arm all the way back in his throat, then he started to roll with me," said Lahodik from his hospital bed in Fort Myers.
Lahodik punched the 10 and a half foot, 500-pound gator in the eye until it let go. Lahodik suffered severe arm injuries.
“Every time they have to change his bandages, it’s excruciating pain," said Klatt, who has been constantly texting with his mother at the hospital.
The family is hoping there are no infections, and looking to see if Lahodik can be moved to a trauma center as he recovers, and preps for perhaps more surgeries.
In the meantime, Klatt says the family has been overwhelmed by support from the community for this father of seven, and grandfather to four, who may not be able to go back to the profession he loves.
“It’s heartbreaking because where do we go from here you know?” asked Klatt.
The family has set up a GoFundMe account. You can access it here.