SARASOTA COUNTY - The area firefighters and paramedics union handed out some help for local charities Tuesday.
Nineteen not-for-profit organizations got a boost thanks to the Suncoast Firefighters and Paramedics Union. Union heads say they will hand out more than $135,000 this year to charities in Sarasota, Manatee, and Charlotte counties.
The funds were raised though the sale of specialty tags, boot drives, donations, and other fundraisers.
Recipients like the Loveland Center in Venice were handed their checks Tuesday afternoon. "The firefighters recognizing us and helping us to provide the necessary things for our 127 adults with developmental disabilities here at the Loveland Center means an awful lot to us," says Benny Weaver.
"Our job is about giving back to the community on duty, and we like to give back off duty. We like to be involved in our communities," says union member Merv Kennell.
This is the third year for the firefighters community grant program. The nearly 1,100 members of local 25-46 are looking to raise even more in the coming year.