Volunteers help travelers at TIA

- Trying to find your way around an unfamiliar airport can be a daunting task. 

But visitors flying into Tampa International Airport are greeted with a helping hand, thanks to community volunteers. 

Gretchen and Jack Firey are part of the Tampa International Airport Volunteer Visitors Program. They help travelers navigate their way through the airport.

"You have people who get totally lost," Gretchen said. "They're like, 'I can't find anything.'"

Volunteers make it their mission to help them find their way.

The program has been around for five years and so have the Firey's. 

"It's just something different," Jack said. "There are no two days that are the same."

Volunteers help passengers by answering their questions while they wait at baggage claim.

"The majority of our questions are ground transportation-related," says Dortresia Johnson, who works for Tampa International Airport. "Where to find my hotel shuttle? Where are the taxi cabs?

At the end of the year, they'll reach a big milestone - having helped 1 million travelers.

The initiative was started when Tampa had the Republican Convention in 2012.

"It's fascinating.You have people from all walks of life," Gretchen said.

The nearly 200 volunteers serve more than 19 million passengers each year.

"One of the best experiences I've had in my entire life after retiring out of the Navy," Jack explained.

"It's been wonderful. Absolutely wonderful." Gretchen said.

Up Next:


Up Next

  • Volunteers help travelers at TIA
  • Students show love and give hope to those who need it most
  • Discovery learning helps kids develop skills
  • Tennis in the blood of Bay Area family
  • Podcast focuses on innovation in St. Petersburg
  • Ministry develops sustainable communities in Africa
  • Lunch Pals program offers mentoring to students
  • Four Bay Area scouts earn honor of Eagle Scout
  • Sarasota students honor memory of those who gave all
  • Woman's turnaround inspired by her mother's words