Charities help Rafael Furcal achieve his dream -- the first firetruck for his hometown
Baby, you can drive my -- firetruck?
Beep beep’m, yeah?
Dodgers shortstop Rafael Furcal is from the town of Loma de Cabrera in the Dominican Republic. A town of about 7,000. A town that had a fire department, but no firetruck.
Furcal decided he wanted to do something about it. New firetrucks can cost over $1 million, so the efforts went elsewhere.
On Tuesday -- in conjunction with the Los Angeles Fire Department, the Dodgers Dream Foundation and the charity Los Bomberos -- Loma de Cabrera was presented with its first firetruck.
"I decided two years ago, I see we need a little something in my hometown over there," Furcal said. "I get the opportunity and talk to the Dodgers, and I wondered if they could help me out.
"And they made my dream come alive. They helped me out big time."
The LAFD donated the retired truck. The Dodgers Dream Foundation is paying for it to be shipped to the Dominican Republic. And Los Bomberos -- a nonprofit group of L.A. firemen who help third-world countries obtain retired firetrucks -- helped refurbish the truck and will send representatives to Loma de Cabrera to train local firefighters how to use it.
"If I tried to do it by myself, I don’t think it would be so easy," Furcal said.
The idea of sending a firetruck to his hometown -- even used firetrucks can run over $300,000 -- came up during his last contract negotiations. General Manager Ned Colletti actually had it put in as part of Furcal's contract.
Furcal, like many Dodgers, also donates to the team’s charity.
The truck was presented to Furcal at a ceremony Tuesday morning at L.A. Fire Station No.3 as part of the second, and final, day of the team’s community caravan.
Later, current Dodgers Matt Kemp, Jay Gibbons, Tony Gwynn Jr., Gabe Kapler, Furcal and other team representatives picked up trash at the Santa Monica Pier, had lunch with L.A. Police Department officers at their Reseda station, made a stop at Kapler’s former high school, Taft, and then took part in the dedication of the Dodgers Dream Foundation’s 10th community baseball diamond, this one at the Northridge Community Center.
Afterward, most boarded planes for Phoenix. Pitchers and catchers report Thursday.
-- Steve Dilbeck