Days after Hurricane Irma, Steve Stowe, executive director of the Miami Heat Charitable Foundation, made a phone call to Big Pine Academy’s Drew Haggard. “We want to help,” he said.
Big Pine Academy took a pretty hard hit from Irma, losing four portables and four classrooms in the downstairs of the school. The 100 or so pre-k to fifth grade students have been sharing the upstairs classrooms since the storm.
“Some students just never came back after Irma,” said Haggard, who, along with his fifth-grade daughter Reece, showed Stowe around the school.
After a tour of the devastated classrooms, Stowe called the next day and Reece answered her dad’s phone. “We are going to help fix it all, kid,” said Stowe, who through the foundation, teammates and Pat and Chris Riley, pledged $250,000 to help rebuild. “Tell us what you need.”
Before Christmas break, engineers and project managers from the Heat’s team showed up to start the process of adding concrete portables to the school’s property, as well as bring tablets for the students, gift bags for the teachers, hot food and of course Miami Heat T-shirts.