Monday, December 15, 2014

CCSO Gives Child Gift Of Boat Ride, Holiday Parade

Rosio Andres, 6, with Cpl. Todd Byrns aboard a Collier County Sheriff's Office Marine Unit vessel during the annual Christmas boat parade on Naples Bay on Saturday night. Photo courtesy of Michele Fineis.  

A kindergartner got a boats-eye view of the annual Christmas parade on Naples Bay over the weekend, thanks to the Collier County Sheriff’s Office.

For 6-year-old Rosio Andres, the ride on a CCSO Marine Unit patrol vessel in the 25th annual lighted boat parade Saturday night marked the girl’s first time on a boat and her first time watching the parade.

CCSO has been a regular participant in the parade and has taken a child who has a special need or who has done something exceptionally well along for the ride.

Rosio, who attends Pinecrest Elementary School in Immokalee, is battling lymphoma and has been undergoing chemotherapy treatments for the past 10 months, said Eulalia Andres, the girl’s mother. She has two years of chemotherapy remaining.  

When Rosio learned Friday afternoon she would be watching the parade on a boat she was so excited she wanted to go right then and there, her mother said. The night of the ride, Rosio dressed for a special occasion in a shiny pink and purple party dress with pink tights, sparkly purple ballet slippers and a sparkly pink Santa hat.

“She was cold at first, but when the boat ride began and she saw all the lights, she forgot about being cold,” her mother said. “She was happy and excited to be in the parade.”

Her daughter was dazzled by all of the lights on the boats, she said.

Rosio took up Cpl. Todd Byrns on his offer to drive the CCSO boat, which was decked out in festive lights and a big red Santa hat.

“She drove for a couple of seconds and sat back down and leaned her head back like she was in awe,” said Cpl. Byrns, a member of the Marine Unit. “She’s been having a rough time with chemo. I’m glad we were able to get her mind off it for a couple of hours, at least.”

The Marine Industries Association of Collier County and its charitable arm, the Marine Industries Foundation, organize the parade. One hundred percent of the proceeds - donations from parade participants and the community – benefit the Ricky King Fund, which helps children who have a medical need.

Last year the parade raised $5,000 for the Ricky King fund, said Frank Perrucci, MIACC president and parade chairman.

More than 30 boats were registered for this year’s parade, he said.
“It’s a neat community event, a neat boater event and a neat charitable event,” Perrucci said.    

The Collier County Sheriff's Office participated in the 25th annual Christmas boat parade on Naples Bay on Saturday night. Photo by Cpl. Shawn Bogart/CCSO