The North Pinellas Firefighters Charities respectfully request any and all assistance after the devastating accident that recently occurred. Our lives changed dramatically on the afternoon of Wednesday, August 3, 2022, when JC La Verde, firefighter/paramedic for Oldsmar Fire Rescue and a member of Palm Harbor/Oldsmar Local 2980, was swimming in Lake Thonotosassa in preparation for an upcoming event when he was attacked by a large alligator, sustaining significant injuries to his head and face. He was able to escape, make it to land, and contact Hillsborough County Emergency Services for help. He was then rushed to Tampa General Hospital under Trauma Alert criteria, where he underwent a 6-hour surgery to repair and reconstruct the damage to his skull and jaw. He was then transferred to the ICU to be closely monitored. Currently, we do not know how long he will be admitted under the care of the experts at Tampa General Hospital.
JC is a man who has dedicated his entire life to helping others. He has always chosen a path of selfless and meaningful service committing his entire life to service. First serving his country in the United States Air Force Pararescue ("These Things We Do, That Others May Live") and now proudly serving the City of Oldsmar as a firefighter/paramedic. He has a contagious spirit for life and is energized by his family, friends, and his passion for athletic competition. As a successful triathlete, he pushes his physical limits to raise money and awareness to generate impact for organizations he's deeply invested in. He has a passion for foundations like the Heart Gallery of Tampa and The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. It's no surprise to anyone who knows him that his latest career venture – Defeat X – is a business he created that focuses on helping others defeat their personal struggles through healthy exercise and outdoor adventure. JC has created this team and has hosted several events to inspire and motivate as many people as possible to overcome personal adversities and improve themselves. It was during preparation for his upcoming Defeat X race event when this tragedy struck. JC was filming a promotional video of him swimming in Lake Thonotosassa when he encountered the alligator.
With your help, we can ensure that JC and his wife Christine are supported as they navigate this challenging time and embark on their recovery journey!