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Gasparilla 2012: Peg Leg Pirate krewe's mission is to help amputees and their families

5:32 PM, Jan 27, 2012   |    comments
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Tampa, Florida - For members of one krewe at Gasparilla, a pirate's life is a whole lot of giving. This group is setting sail to change lives.

It takes a lot of work to get a ship ready to sail for Gasparilla...

"I would say we probably have 600 to 800 hours of labor I guess involved in it," says Joe Hocter, a member of the Peg leg Pirate.

Photos: Gasparilla through history
More Pictures:
 Gasparilla Parade 2011

Of course, a captain, "Peg Leg Pete. He's our, forefather, he's our founding member," says Hocter.

But maybe the most important thing to have, for this krewe anyway, is a mission.

"The Notorious Krewe of the Peg Leg Pirate says it all. That's who we help. Amputees," says Maria Maranda, a member of the Peg Leg Pirates.

It's all fun and games come Gasparilla, but the real reason krewe members put their blood, sweat and tears into this float, is for their charity and for little girls, just like Donovia.

"Can you imagine a child, with no arms. Would they ever have thought that child would be able to get on a bike, go outside and play with kids like any other regular kid and we've done that so many times, it's, very rewarding," says Maranda.

Since the establishment of the Peg Leg Pirates in 2004, more than 70 families have been helped. Reianna was getting bullied for not having a leg. Her parents wanted to send her to a private school.

"Every year, as long as she keeps her grades good, which she's been doing that, we are able to help her with her schooling. And she doesn't get made fun of," says Maranda.

With each person the krewe helps, they're only motivated to do more. They know when you see their ship on the parade route, one more person could have a new chance at life.

"Hopefully that will attract attention and get more people to donate to our charity, come out and become members. 10:59 Get involved in the community and do things that we do. That's exactly what the attention of this float is for," says Hocter.

The biggest fundraiser for the Peg Leg Pirate is a sporting clay shoot on March 3. One hundred percent of the proceeds go to the charity.

Get all the information on the event here: http://peglegpirate.org/

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