A quote often attributed to Abraham Lincoln is “No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child.” Whether Abe said that, or not, it is still a powerfully poignant statement.
In the middle of preparing for their annual Toys for Tots Bike Drive, MarineMax Orlando participated in the Autistic/Handicapped Children (ACH) of Central Florida’s Children’s Holiday Season Party. The ACH of Central Florida has been hosting this event for over 40-years. They bring together children with special needs from the Orange County School District on a free field trip to a holiday party where they can enjoy outdoor recreation including boat rides, pony rides, games, a petting zoo, visits with firefighters and police officers. Of course Santa shows up for the picnic lunch. Every child leaves with a day of great memories and a bag filled with candy and toys.
“We were blessed to be given the opportunity to help out at this really important event,” explained Bryan Douglas, MarineMax Orlando Store Manager. “It is immensely rewarding to spend time on the water with these remarkable children and their unfiltered excitement as they simply ride on a boat, take a pony ride, have a picnic, meet Santa – it is a humbling experience that changes your perspective forever.”
This holiday party event was started in 1973 by Frank Karl, an administrator at Mid Florida Tech, in his Orlando back yard. With the support of local business partnership and the Orange County School District it has grown to an annual event hosting up to 1,500 deserving children each year.
“Hats-off to the organizers for doing such a wonderful, meaningful event and tying in the water to these kids’ experience. Really, we’re very appreciative for the invite and feel privileged to be there with our boats and employee volunteers,” Douglas expounded. “We would like to thank the real heroes who are the parents, school teachers and event volunteers.”