CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Local firefighters will spend this Sep. 11 throwing a barbecue to raise money for those in need while remembering those lost in the terrorist attacks 20 years ago.
The Corpus Christi Firefighters Association will hold its first fundraiser in nearly 18 months Saturday at Vino Mio with proceeds going to the association’s Relief and Outreach Fund.
If you’ve never needed the fund, you’ve likely never heard of it; but those that have know how important the fund is to those in need.
“We all live in this community, we all love this community,” said CCFA President Johnny Stobbs. “We give back as much as we can.”
Stobbs has seen first-hand how much the fund can make a difference.
Started in 2013, the Relief and Outreach Fund not only helps fire victims but firefighters and their families.
Firefighters like Gilbert Stamps and his son Lane.
“As firefighters, first responders, police officers, military; we fail to ask for help when we need help because we’re used to helping everybody else,” said Stamps, who works with the department’s HazMat Response Unit.
When Lane was six months old, he was diagnosed with tuberous sclerosis, a rare condition that causes benign tumors and seizures.
“He was having about 50-100 seizures a day,” said Stamps of his son's condition.
Stamps and his wife took Lane all over the country, visiting specialists for studies and treatments. Their medical bills were piling up when CCFA stepped in.
“That was actually our first firefighter,” said Stobbs. “It meant a lot to the association, to help one of our own, to get him what he needs so he didn’t have to worry about his son.”
“Because of all those studies and everything we did and using the money, the funding, he’s doing great now,” said Stamps of Lane, now 12, who has been seizure-free for four years.
While the fund has helped a few firefighters, most of its impact is in the community. When fire makes a house or apartment unlivable, CCFA gives the victims a check for $500 for shelter, food, and other necessities.
Since 2013, CCFOA has provided $100,000 to roughly 250 grateful families.
“They don’t know what to say,” said Stobbs. “They’re just so overwhelmed with appreciation and joy that they can’t believe what we’re doing.”
Saturday’s annual 9/11 remembrance fundraiser runs from 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. at Vino Mio, 4102 S. Staples St. CCFOA will be selling BBQ chicken plates with all the trimmings for $10 each.