SAN ANTONIO — Soccer players from Tommytown got a first-hand look at the life and work of a firefighter at the Pasco County Fire Rescue station Saturday.
Seventeen children gathered at San Antonio Park for a cookout and then walked to the station, where firefighter Jesus “J.J.” Martinez gave them a tour and hands-on lesson on firetruck equipment.
After the tour, the children were given Christmas gifts of a soccer ball and a radio-controlled car.
The outing was a collaborative effort between The Firefighters Charities of Pasco, East Pasco Toys For Tots, the San Antonio Rotary Club and Margarita Romo, executive director of Farmworkers Self-Help, a group that provides immigration assistance.
“I think this is wonderful,” Romo said. “You don’t know how many of these kids will one day be firefighters just because of this. A lot of our kids never have an opportunity to see this, so anything we can do to show them another world.”
The soccer team from an area around Lock Street, called Calle de Milagros or “Street of Miracles,” is evidence that good things come out of Tommytown, Romo said.
“They practice three times a week in a park in Tommytown, so it’s kind of like the Tommytown soccer team,” she said.
The Firefighters Charities of Pasco purchased the gifts, and Martinez, the charity president, led the tour.
FCP recently raised about $3,000 with a shave-off as members grew mustaches and then shaved them off to raise funds.
“It’s been great,” Martinez said. “We have 408 firefighters, and each one of them wants to volunteer.”
Bob Loring, co-coordinator of Toys for Tots of East Pasco, wanted to remind mail customers in Pasco County that the annual Letter Carriers Post Office Toy Drive is Saturday.
Pasco residents may leave new, unwrapped toys next to their mailboxes for the postal carriers to collect and deliver to Toys For Tots.