Picking up the Tab: Big Corkscrew firefighters take girl on holiday shopping spree

David Albers/Staff - 
A foster child shops with Big Corkscrew Island firefighter Adam DiSarro, center background, and his son, 8-year-old Adam DiSarro, Jr., at Wal-Mart Supercenter on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in North Naples. The child shopped for clothes and toys with the firefighters as part of the union's annual Christmas Adopt-A-Family program from the Local 4522 Union for firefighters.

Photo by DAVID ALBERS, Naples Daily News // Buy this photo

David Albers/Staff - A foster child shops with Big Corkscrew Island firefighter Adam DiSarro, center background, and his son, 8-year-old Adam DiSarro, Jr., at Wal-Mart Supercenter on Wednesday, Dec. 26, 2012, in North Naples. The child shopped for clothes and toys with the firefighters as part of the union's annual Christmas Adopt-A-Family program from the Local 4522 Union for firefighters.

She sat beaming on her foster dad's lap, swinging her legs as they dangled from a bench outside Wal-Mart.

The pink ribbon in the 8-year-old's hair matched the pink hoodie and sandals she wore Wednesday. They earned her the nickname "Princess" from three Big Corkscrew Island firefighters who met her outside the store for some post-Christmas shopping.

"We're gonna need a couple carts, aren't we?" Lt. Adam DiSarro said.

Big Corkscrew firefighters sponsor families each holiday with gifts and food, but this was the first time they decided to accompany a little girl to the store to pick out her own presents.

Without a spending limit and with a crew of personal shoppers in tow, "Princess" — whose name is not being released — darted through the racks of clothes at the Wal-Mart on Juliet Boulevard in North Naples.

Her penchant for bright colors was obvious. An orange top, a purple T-shirt, rainbow socks and silver shoes lined the cart.

"I've never been told I can buy anything," she told her foster mom Bobbie Ball. The Ball family has taken care of the third grader since March.

"We're just helping her dad out," Ball said. "There are so many children in Collier County who need foster homes. We just need more people to step up. It's so rewarding."

In the toy aisle, she wowed the group, swinging four hula hoops around her waist at once. She bought just one.

A fishing pole, a bike helmet and a movie — Tooth Fairy 2, with Larry the Cable Guy — joined the lot.

"I'm so happy for her," Ball said.

Foster dad Greg Ball, the pastor of Destiny Church in Naples, helped Big Corkscrew driver engineer Barry Liebowitz find families in need this year.

At the end of the trip, Liebowitz, DiSarro and firefighter Michael Christensen used about $175 of their own money to foot the bill.

"She can't stop smiling," DiSarro said, watching the girl push her cart through automatic doors and into the parking lot. "That made it worth it."

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