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Tampa first responders head to North Port to help with Hurricane Ian relief

“The first 16 we called, they all responded and said yes. That was just amazing just to know that we have the heart,” said Barbara Tripp, Tampa Fire Rescue Chief.

TAMPA, Fla. — You have probably heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough gets going.” That is just what first responders in Tampa are doing. They have loaded up rescue equipment to go down and help residents in North Port.  

Serving takes dedication whether home or away. 

“We feel very fortunate that we didn’t feel the wrath of Hurricane Ian. Unfortunately, our neighbors down south did,” said Tampa Mayor Jane Castor.

Like any good neighbor, support is always there. On Saturday morning, 40 Tampa police officers and 15 firefighters loaded up to help residents in North Port. 

“The first 16 we called, they all responded and said yes. That was just amazing just to know that we have the heart,” said Barbara Tripp of Tampa Fire Rescue Chief.

They have hearts so big, no one city can contain. 

“People are saying, raising their hands and saying, ‘I’ll go. I’ll leave my family. I’ll go down and put myself in harm’s way to help others,'” said Castor.

With a convoy of rescue boats, a high-water rescue truck, command center, chainsaws and generators, these first responders will help with traffic control, cleanup, any crime and rescues.

“My prayer is for them to have the strength to deal with whatever they see to help the community out,” said Tripp. “Even though we’re firefighters and public servants, we’re also there to help. If they just need a bottle of water, we’re there to help them.”

It is a call to serve that has made many overjoyed. 

“So proud. I mean they’re not going to a pleasant situation right now. They are going to very adverse conditions. It would be easier for them just to come to work this week, but they’re not,” said Tampa Police Chief Mary O’Connor. “They’re shining right now.” 

They are indeed shining with pride for their state and service in their hearts.

Those first responders will stay in North Port for one week. When they return, another wave of volunteer will go down to help.

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