TAMPA, Fla. — Michael St. James could have spent his birthday doing whatever he wanted. The Tampa man chose to sit in a car.
“Eight, nine, ten hours at least,” he said from the road Monday afternoon.
St. James, who celebrated turning 62 Monday, decided to carry on a tradition to do a deed of community service on his birthday. The annual idea first started with his father, also named Michael.
“I loaded up a van full of water and I’m taking it down to Surfside for the first responders and rescue crews,” he said. “It’s my way of giving back.”
The condo collapse from June 24 is still in search and recovery mode. The number of dead reached 90 people. Michael wanted to help.
“I was at home and I was watching the news coverage of it and I saw everybody working out in the heat and I thought, ‘There’s got to be something I can do to help. I don’t think I could go down there and work or help right now but, I’ll tell ya, I can take a day and donate my time and some money and bring them cold water,'" Michael said.
"So, I put it in motion starting last week and waited for today. I thought today would be the perfect day because it’s my birthday.”
Michael has helped his father make pet food deliveries to animal shelters for years. He plans to do that again in November when his dad turns 88.
“A lot of people need help and if you were able to help, the resources, even the wherewithal to help, do it. Because you’ll come away with a wonderful feeling knowing that you will help other people in need especially in a situation like this where the first responders really need to be recognized. You have to give more than you take.”
St. James is also a former soldier who also works on passion projects like his efforts to promote the timely sharing of crucial medical information with first responders and medical personnel. He's turned his passion into action as President of St. James Life Science Incorporated's My Medic Tag. It's a service he founded a few years back to help ensure that doctors and other emergency medical professionals have the information they need to save lives when people are injured and seconds or minutes may mean the difference between life or death treatment decisions.
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