The Coastal Star

Ocean Ridge’s  Timothy Annis collects bottle caps instead of shells on the beach. He stores them in onion bags and  recycles them to raise money to buy wheelchairs for veterans and others who need them.

Tim Stepien/The Coastal Star

Most people don’t think twice when they see plastic caps. But not Timothy Annis. The Ocean Ridge resident is on a mission to collect a tractor-trailer full of them — including those from water bottles, laundry detergent and shampoo. That’s about eight and a half tons. 

He’s already amassed two tons and is determined to scour the beaches and other areas until he meets his goal. This isn’t just some off-the-wall hobby: Annis is recycling the caps and using the money to purchase wheelchairs for children and veterans.

“I find plastic caps everywhere. You would not believe how many plastic caps I find on the beach. In a 500-yard stretch I can find 10 pounds of plastic caps that have been tossed by careless boaters into our oceans. Not only do they float onto the beach, but [they] are swallowed by many marine animals and this will kill them,” said Annis, who belongs to the Knights of Columbus at St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church in Delray Beach. 

“I am so blessed to live in this beautiful paradise called Ocean Ridge and I love the ocean. I am in the water almost every day and snorkel out to about 60 feet and tow my kayak behind me,” he said. “I fill the kayak with debris that has been tossed or dislodged from boats and people into the ocean that I care so much for.”

He’s gotten a lot of help from the community, including his co-captain, Jack Foley, St. Vincent’s, Daughter of Zion Seventh-Day Adventist Church in Delray Beach, Sea to Shore Alliance, H2O: Healthy Habitats & Oceans Program, Sunset Palms Elementary in Boynton Beach, the Boynton Dive Center and the Elks Lodge of Delray Beach.

But there’s so much more to be done, he laments. “Collect the plastic caps from all types of items in your house or at your workplace,” urged Annis, who is the president/CEO of Delray Beach-based Lightspeed Group Technologies Inc., a broadband provider for mission critical data. “We also need people to sort the caps. We offer community service hours for this help.” 

Although Annis, 57, spends a lot of time with his plastic cap venture, he’s also filming a new show, dubbed My Coastal Life, which will feature unique people, places and things on the island — and up and down both coasts. Some of the places he plans to include are Nomad’s, Ocean Inlet Park, Gumbo Limbo Nature Center and the Morikami. He’ll host the program, which is expected to start airing in early 2016 on the Travel Channel. 

Places worth sharing, indeed.  

— Linda Haase

10 Questions

Q. Where did you grow up and go to school and how did it influence you?

A. I went to an all-boys Catholic school (Saint Viator High School) in Arlington Heights, Ill. I was very sick as a young child and had my last rites read to me several times. Growing up with my two sisters and brother all a year apart was a great support system for me and allowed me to be outgoing at an early age. I knew that I wanted to give back in any way I could back then. I also attended Harper College and MacMurray College. 

Q. What professions have you worked in?

A. I moved to South Florida in 1983 and opened up a paging company called Annis Communications. I put more than 400,000 pagers on the street and sold it to PageNet and retired at 30 years old the first time. I also have been a radio and television on-air personality on and off over the years (including radio stations The Fox 103.9 in Elgin, Ill., and 94.7 WLS in Chicago and clubs in downtown Chicago, including Mothers, PS Chicago, and The Snuggery in Schaumburg).

Q. What advice do you have for a young person selecting a career today? 

A. The formula is simple: The more you put in the more you get out. There’s is no magic to it.

Q. How did you choose to make your home in Ocean Ridge?

A. I have been living on the beach for 35 years and love the quiet community of Ocean Ridge. But it’s close to the action in Delray Beach when I feel like it.

Q. What is your favorite part about living in Ocean Ridge? 

A. The Seaside Deli and of course the ocean.

Q. What music do you listen to when you need inspiration? When you want to relax?

A. For inspiration: The Outfield (an English pop/rock band). For relaxation: Maroon Five, a hybrid rock/R&B band from Los Angeles.

Q. Do you have a favorite quote that inspires your decisions? 

A. Always quote the gospel. But only use words when necessary.

Q. If your life story were made into a movie, who would you want to play you?

A. Jack Nicholson. He is a phenomenal actor. I can actually do a great Jack Nicholson (impersonation). 

Q. Who/what makes you laugh?

A. If you can laugh at yourself you have it made.

Q. What is something about you that people don’t know that would surprise them?

A. I did many Veg-O-Matic commercials when I was 17.

CAP DONATIONS

Venues accepting bottle caps include:  

Zoo Gym, Sunshine Plaza, Boynton Beach

Ellie’s 50’s Diner, Federal Highway in Delray Beach Hair Cuttery shops in Palm Beach County

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