Nelson Cruz donates fire truck to his island village

Nelson Cruz fire truck

Credit: WFAA

Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is donating a fire truck to his home village in the Dominican Republic.




Posted on September 24, 2012 at 10:01 PM

Updated Tuesday, Sep 25 at 3:30 AM

ARLINGTON — Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz is sending lifesaving help to his home town.

Cruz hails from a Dominican Republic town that is rich in beauty, but its people are poor.

And with poverty comes danger.

"I have a friend that, because we don't have fire trucks there, his house just burned... completely," Cruz said. "And there is no hospital. If you get sick and don't have a car, people can die waiting. It's sad, but it happens."

A couple of years ago, Cruz said he began dreaming of buying a fire truck for his home town, but he didn't know how to make it happen.

He began to talk with teammates and other people in the clubhouse. His request finally made it to the Arlington Fire Department.

They searched and found a truck at an auction house in Minnesota. It isn't brand new, but it is perfect for what is needed, said Arlington Assistant Fire Chief David Carroll.

"They can't have a new apparatus there; the new ones are all computerized and have all the new equipment on them, and they really can't work on them down there," Carroll explained.

Cruz spent $20,000 to purchase the truck, a 1988 vehicle with 10,000 on the odometer. Donations from other foundations helped paint it and refurbish it.

Cruz's number 17 is painted on the side.

On Wednesday, his home town fire chief will be at the Ballpark in Arlington to get the keys. He will also get two ambulances donated by AMR, which provides emergency services in Arlington.

The equipment will then be shipped to the Dominican Republic.

"I'm blessed to be able to help people," Cruz said. "It is going to change and save lives."

"Nelson is a very generous person," Carroll added. "We're just glad he included us in this project."