The day before Thanksgiving, the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District and other community organizations stepped up to help a nationally-recognized non-profit organization that specializes in providing communities' kids an opportunity to transform into responsible young adults.
Turkeys, ham and all the fixings were delivered to AMIKids Southwest Florida on San Carlos Island for a Thanksgiving feast.
"It's all about community, family and providing a support network," said Capt. Ronald Martin. "It's also about showing the kids that there is a future out there and showing that the fire service is a wonderful career and profession. We care about our community."
BOB PETCHER (TWO PHOTOS/ ONE CUT)
AMIKids Southwest Florida enjoyed a pre-Thanksgiving meal at their school last Wednesday thanks to the community support that included the Fort Myers Beach Fire Control District, the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club, the Lee County Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association and U.S. Coast Guard Fort Myers Beach.
Martin stated the event began with a conversation during Fire Prevention Week in early October when fire officials visited AMIkids school and conducted an outreach program by talking about kitchen fires and offered an apparatus tour to the students.
"Some of the staff at AMIKids were talking about how the holiday season is particularly tough for some of the student body here," he said. "A lot of their families come from varying economic backgrounds, and it was said that having a Thanksgiving meal is sometimes challenging for some of the students. After hearing that, I had to help them out somehow."
Martin reached out to some contacts in the community and received instant support from the Fort Myers Beach Lions Club, the Lee County Fire Marshals and Inspectors Association and U.S. Coast Guard Fort Myers Beach.
"They graciously helped me to provide these dinners that we served to the kids," he said. "The U.S. Coast Guard warmed the turkeys that the Beach Lions purchased. My family made a donation of two hams to the dinner and the guys from Fire Station 32 came down to serve it to the kids."
Beach Fire Commissioner Betty Goodacre, also a board member of AMIkids, also pitched in to the endeavor and offered grace before the meal was served.
AMIKids Southwest Florida executive Director Windye McNeal stated she was excited about the collaborative effort that showed her school's children what it is care for one another.
"I am very, very happy and proud to announce the Fort Myers Beach Fire Department pulled together and got a whole bunch of people to donate to ensure that every one of us had a Thanksgiving Dinner today," she said.
Martin told the AMIKids student they were appreciated for their hard work at school.
"We all appreciate your academic studies and everything you guys are doing," he said. "We wanted to make sure everybody at school had the opportunity to have a great pre-Thanksgiving Dinner and have plenty of left-overs for tomorrow."