Meet the muscle behind the Wekiva Strong movement.
Wekiva resident David Rubin spreads positive vibes wherever he goes, and for the past two years, he has continued his mission to unite and strengthen the relationship between our community and our local heroes – the first responders.
“I want to let them know how much we care so that we can be better together,” says David.
A local youth baseball coach and fitness specialist, David grew up in the Wekiva area and earned a degree in sports and exercise science from UCF. While in college, David helped raise $8,000 for the Special Olympics and was part of a group that organized a charity 5K on campus.
Those experiences shaped David’s perspective on all aspects of his life and ultimately led him on a quest to honor local first responders.
For the second straight year, David has organized the three-day Wekiva Strong event to thank and honor first responders for what they do each day in our community. The inaugural event was inspired by the first responders’ hard work and sacrifice in the wake of Hurricane Irma.
After the worst of Irma passed through Seminole County, David remembers waking up to no power or water and a neighborhood full of debris. Before David knew it, crews from Seminole County Fire Station 13 were on the scene to clear trees and help put the Wekiva community back together.
David was so moved, he made a simple post on social media asking our community to come together to thank our heroes, and he received a tremendous response. In five weeks, David and his neighbors organized the first Wekiva Strong event, bringing together hundreds of residents, local businesses, and volunteers in one place to thank first responders in person.
Honored heroes included those from the Seminole County Sheriff’s Office as well as firefighters from Seminole County stations 12, 13, and 16.
“We need to let our heroes know how valuable they are, how much they matter,” says David. “We just want to show them our appreciation by continuing to support them.”
A year later, David organized the second Wekiva Strong gathering. Fortunately, there was no hurricane to commemorate, but the community still stepped up to show its gratitude. Bigger businesses got involved to sponsor the event, and David was even able to commission a Wekiva Strong billboard on I-4.
The events meant a lot to the first responders, too. They’ve asked David to expand future celebrations to include other stations outside Wekiva and pay homage to Seminole County Animal Services, which works hard to save animals affected by natural disasters and other emergencies.
After the first Wekiva Strong event, David received a written letter from a Seminole County fire lieutenant who said David had helped him rekindle his sense of pride and accomplishment that had faded over the years. The lieutenant described David as the most positive person he had ever met.
“To have these connections happen in the community is really inspiring and especially needed,” says David. “This is how we touch people’s hearts and inspire them.”
David also brings his positivity and motivational personality to local youth as a volunteer recreational baseball coach, and he often seeks out opportunities to connect first responders with his players.
In January, David finalized approval for his new nonprofit organization, Heroes Strong. Its mission is to build on the success of the Wekiva Strong events to further connect the community and the men and women who protect it.
David’s next planned event, which was inspired by a local resident who reached out to him, is a flag retirement ceremony on Friday, June 14, which is National Flag Day.
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