Local boy raises $500 in birthday money to surprise firefighters with pizza

A central Florida boy used his birthday surprise to help first responders working during the coronavirus pandemic.

Teddy Pentz took the $500 he unexpectedly received for his 12th birthday and used it to buy food and pizza for DeLand firefighters. “

They did so much for us. I wanted them to know how appreciated they are,” he said.

Teddy’s mom, Krista Pentz, is the one who surprised her son with the gift. She said initially she was just going to put out a request on Facebook for people to send her son birthday cards as a way to show him he was loved. Pentz said her son has Autism and it is difficult for him to make friends. But then Pentz said her son mentioned wanting to help people during the coronavirus pandemic.

Pentz said, “My son saw somebody on the news do something good and he looked at me and said that he wanted to do something like that.”

In her social media post about birthday cards Pentz also mentioned her son’s desire to help the community. Pentz said over three weeks the donations started pouring in with friends and strangers mailing her son nearly 100 birthday cards containing $500.

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The night before his April 25th birthday Pentz surprised her son with the box of cards and a letter explaining what she did. Teddy used the money to buy pizza for DeLand firefighters and surprised them with a delivery.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a 12 year-old kid give a gesture like that,” said DeLand Fire Chief Todd Allen. “I think it was a wonderful gesture… [Teddy is a] big-hearted kid and we certainly appreciate it.”

Firefighters gave Teddy a surprise in return, presenting him with a fire department T-shirt and a commemorative fire department coin.

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“I was actually really happy, like really happy,”

Teddy said about receiving the gifts. Teddy said he would like to do another donation in the future.

“He’s always been a really giving child and he just likes to show his giving heart,” his mom said.

Pentz said since her son was five-years-old, he has raised money and donated it to several causes.

“He makes me so proud to be his mom.”