Sunday is a day firefighters who rescued Palm Harbor toddler Ireland Nugent from a violent lawn mower accident to celebrate her life and progress.
"Children are truly one of the tattoos that stays with you for the rest of your life," said Pat Scanlon, a retired Clearwater firefighter spearheading a North Pinellas Firefighters Charities event for Ireland at O'Keefe's Family Tavern & Grill in Clearwater on Sunday.
Firefighters see a lot of tragedy, Scanlon said. But when the call involves a child, it has a way of sticking in a firefighter's memory.
Whether it's pulling a child from a crushed car or the bottom of a pool, "when you can see a child survive and succeed like she has in such a short amount of time, it's worth a celebration," Scanlon said.
Ireland Nugent, who just celebrated her 3rd birthday, was run over by a riding lawn mower in April. Both her legs were amputated. She has since been fit for prosthetic legs and last week underwent a ninth surgery to remove bone spurs. Ireland's oldest sister is a student at Dunedin High School.
Scanlon has rallied $20,000 in support from the Tampa Bay business community in the form of merchandise and packages for two silent auctions, scheduled for 1 to 3 p.m. and 3 to 5 p.m. The Tampa Bay Pipe and Drum band is scheduled to perform and O'Keefe's has also agreed to contribute a percentage of all sales to Ireland Nugent. All of the proceeds will be donated to the Nugent Family Trust. The public is welcome to attend.
However, Scanlon pointed out, the "Firefighters for Ireland" fundraiser party holds extra meaning for Palm Harbor Fire Rescue.
"They are the ones who ran the call on Ireland," Scanlon said. "If it weren't for their skills ... she wouldn't be alive right now."
Want to Go?When: Sunday, Aug. 25 from noon to 6 p.m.
Where: O'Keefe's Family Tavern & Grill, 1219 S. Fort Harrison Ave., Clearwater