A golf cart stolen Sunday night from 126 Avenue D in Apalachicola cost a local veteran a measure of his freedom this Memorial Day.

City residents are familiar with the sight of Russ Boyd cruising around town in a bright blue golf cart with his yellow Labrador retrievers, Laverne and Abby.

The former pilot suffers from macular degeneration and cannot drive. The cart is his only means of transportation but he gets by just fine. Or he did until someone stole the cart.

At around 5 a.m. Sunday, Boyd was awakened by Laverne and Abby barking at the door. He went to see what was wrong but found nothing.

“Even if there had been someone at the cart, I’m not sure I could have seen them at that distance,” he said.

On Sunday morning, he herded his dogs outside, planning to ride downtown for brunch, but to his surprise, his golf cart was gone.

He called the Apalachicola police who promised to search for the cart. But with wife Kay out of town, Boyd’s holiday weekend had taken a downturn.

After speaking with neighbors, Boyd learned a new grill was stolen from an adjacent yard about two weeks ago.

“I think it’s a shame that someone like my father, a veteran who gave so much for other people’s freedom, should have his taken away by a thief,” said his daughter Kristie. “I don’t guess you can shame someone like that but shame on them anyway.”

Boyd said the loss of the cart, an 1 2003 Club Car, is especially upsetting because it has sentimental attachments. He has owned the blue cart for nine years. The dogs and cart were spotted by a Sports Illustrated photographer and appeared in the 2013 swimsuit issue, part of which was photographed in Apalachicola.

“It just has a lot of happy memories tied up in it,” he said.

Ah La Cart golf cart rentals of Apalachicola has provided Boyd with a temporary replacement free of charge. He expects a settlement from his insurance company in about three weeks if the cart is not found.

Boyd said he would pay a reward for information leading to the return of the cart. If you can help, please contact the Apalachicola Police Department or contact Boyd directly at 653-8573.