Parrish Fire District donates truck to Caribbean Fire Rescue in Bahamas

The truck that sits in front of the Parrish Fire District's first home is a symbol of hard work. The district was formed by volunteers more than 30 years ago. Since then, it's operation has been a true community effort.

"We had no money. We had one truck. We’d have an annual bar-b-que to buy gasoline and hoses to protect our community the best we could," said Mike Buice.

Thanks to the generosity of donors, they were able to buy a 1992 fire engine. A few years later, they'd become a full-fledged district. 

"We have been blessed over the years from people donating things and, of course, having money to buy our needs," said Assistant Chief Wayne Ownby. 

Now, the truck is going somewhere it's needed far more. On Tuesday, after being taken out of service, The truck and some gear will head to the Bahamas.

Tim Neidert, a retired lieutenant from Osceola County Fire Rescue who now heads the non-profit Caribbean Fire Rescue, will load up the firetruck and transport it to the islands.

Since Hurricane Dorian hit, he's seen the need grow.

"Hurricane Dorian either broke the windows and the flooding either came into the intake and the engine and destroyed the engines," Neidert explained of the damage to firetrucks on the island when the storm hit. "It isn't going to take a quick fix or Band-Aid it’s going to take years for them to fix. Even for the infrastructure of their emergency services."

Just like their beginning, Parrish firefighters know the truck will become a beacon of hope for its future home. 

"It makes you feel good in your heart that you’re not only taking care of this community, but you're taking care of other people in other communities that don’t have nothing," said Ownby.