Don Germaise spent 18 years at ABC Action News running toward the danger. He made a name for himself as he stared down some of our worst hurricanes.
Now eight years into retirement, Germaise finds himself in a familiar place, risking himself to help people who are in desperate need during this pandemic.
“This is what makes me happy,” said Germaise while among the food boxes and the bread at Feeding Tampa Bay’s warehouse.
He volunteers his time, five days a week, at various charities. On this day, he is wearing a protective mask and gloves.
“I’m a retiree that just can’t sit still. I don’t know if I would be happy if I wasn’t helping people,” said Germaise.
Everyone tells Germaise volunteering these days might be a bit risky, but then again, he is the guy who spent nearly two decades at ABC Action News running to the places most of us would run from.
“I realize there’s some risk when you go out into the community. [They think] that you’re going to get Coronavirus, but people gotta eat. People need to know there are people out there to help make their world a better place.”
Soon after retiring, Germaise caught the bug that volunteering does to many people, and he just coudn’t seem to stop. When the pandemic hit, there was no slowing down.
Don volunteers at Feeding Tampa Bay, Trinity Cafe, Metropolitan Ministries and several other places every single week.
“I got famous in Tampa Bay covering hurricanes. Making sure people were safe during hurricanes. I’m making sure people are safe and well-fed now. It’s just a different kind of service,.
He hopes people can find time to volunteer not only now but as we start our rebound here in Tampa Bay. He says there are lots of opportunities out there to get us through this time to help the thousands who really need it right now.
“I think it’s in everyone’s soul to do something good for somebody else. Everybody wants to do the right thing,” Germaise said.