FORT PIERCE, Fla. -- Firefighters from all over Florida are turning up in large numbers Wednesday for the Van Duzer Foundation's fundraiser for injured Martin County firefighter Jahwann McIntyre.
The 22-year-old Port St. Lucie resident was badly burned over 40 percent of his body while battling a house fire on Dec. 27
Jahwann McIntyre's father, Albert McIntyre, and his mother said they are moved by the overwhelming support the family received from firefighters in the Treasure Coast and Miami areas — more than 400 of them traveled to the hospital to offer support since the accident. Miami Beach firefighters held a carwash fundraiser.
"It just brings me to tears to know that there are so many people out there that care about Jahwann, his brotherhood," Ann McIntyre said. "They are all one big family, and they all love Jahwann."
Jahwann's recovery is expected to be a long and difficult one, and doctors estimate his hospital stay to be around 100 days.
To help out with medical costs and rehabilitation, Indian River State College Assistant Professor Alfred Williams — who also taught the rookie firefighter in the college's Fire Academy Track Program — contacted the Van Duzer Foundation. Jahwann volunteered for the organization at previous fundraisers.
"This is the first line-of-duty injury that I've had with one of my students in the fire service, and … it hurts," he said. "We're a big family. I know his drive, and his dream was to be in the fire service, and I was so proud of him when he got hired with Martin County."
The fundraiser will be held at Big Apple Pizza & Pasta in Fort Pierce. "Jahwann is very special," said Scott Van Duzer, foundation head and restaurant owner. "He's given so much to families here in St. Lucie County, that we just … wanted to do something special for him."