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Boys Town Central Florida Supports First Responders in Wake of Tragedy

In light of the recent tragedy in Orlando, Florida, Boys Town Central Florida decided to come together and honor those who were at the center of the disaster. The week following the attack on Orlando’s Pulse Night Club, Central Florida’s management team collaborated to honor and thank first responders for their service to the community in its time of need.

“The Pulse tragedy could have easily divided our Central Florida Community, but instead it brought us closer and made us stronger. Seeing volunteers line up to give blood and donations, the outpouring of support from all over the country, and differences set aside was inspiring.” Boys Town Central Florida Executive Director Gregory Zbylut reflected on the tragedy. “Our staff and youth wanted to play a part and we wanted to teach our youth how to do that.  We also want to recognize our North and South Florida sites that were quick to offer their support in the form of cards for responders and encouragement.”

Large thank you baskets were delivered to nine different police stations, fire stations, ERs and to a local LBGT Support Organization. Kids from both Boys Town Central Florida and Boys Town North Florida programs sent hand written cards thanking the responders and show their appreciation for their service to be included in the baskets filled with snacks, candy, coffee mugs and other small gifts.

Youth from the Central Florida location were then able to help Zbylut, Troy Dunberger, Senior Director, Program Operations, and other ​Boys Town Central Florida staff members deliver the baskets to these different locations across Orlando. 

“The first responders and LGBT Support Organization were very appreciative of the thank you baskets,” said Jackie Nitti, Community Engagement Coordinator at Boys Town Central Florida. When the staff members and youth arrived at the fire station, they were able to spend time with the firefighters, receive tours of the building and the fire trucks and even had the opportunity to shoot the water hose.

“The youth really enjoyed getting to learn more about their community and showing appreciation to the first responders.” said Nitti. “People from so many different communities really came together to show their appreciation.”