Members of The Oaks Club community in Osprey recently raised $13,000 in seven days to fund meals for Sarasota County firefighters and first responders. The “Gifts of Gratitude” project was inspired by The Oaks Club general manager and COO Jeff Hartigan, who often covers the grocery bill for firefighters when he sees them shopping in Publix. The program culminated on June 10 with a full turkey feast and all the trimmings at nearby Station 14 prepared by The Oaks Club executive chef James Pampinella, with additional meals being sent to 19 other stations. Nearly 200 members of The Oaks Club contributed to the Gifts of Gratitude fund.
Sarasota County employs more than 500 professional firefighters, many of whom are also certified paramedics. Firefighters work 24-hour shifts followed by 48 hours off, cooking meals for themselves and their shift-mates while they are on the job.