Tebow hands out food to Hurricane Irma victims in Florida Keys

Former Gators QB, Heisman Trophy winner spreads message of faith during visit

By Peter Burke - Local10.com Managing Editor , Terrell Forney - Reporter

BIG PINE KEY, Fla. - Former Heisman Trophy winner Tim Tebow is lending a helping hand to Hurricane Irma relief efforts in the Florida Keys.

The former University of Florida and NFL quarterback was distributing free hot meals, cold water and ice to Irma victims Thursday in Big Pine Key.

Joined by Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Florida, Tebow shook hands and took pictures with people who lined up to greet him.

"We can't repair everything in a day. You probably can't do it for a little while," Tebow said. "But you can let people know that they're cared for, that they're prayed for and they're not in this journey alone."

And yes, a small dose of fanfare followed Tebow. 

"I went to school at UF when he was a quarterback, so it's cool to see him down here," Devan Mercury, a Keys resident, said. 

The former Florida star has a special place in his heart for his home state and the vulnerable Keys. 

Rubio said he and Tebow wanted to interact with Keys residents and "hear from them."

"We have staff here on the ground 24 hours a day now," Rubio said, adding that volunteers deserve a special thank you. 

A few of those first responders and volunteers, who are from across the country, snapped photos with Tebow, along with residents who have been impacted by the storm. 

"It just means a lot that he took the time out to come down here and show his support for us," Brandi Sokolosky said. 

Tebow currently plays minor league baseball with the St. Lucie Mets, the single-A affiliate of the New York Mets. He was a member of two national championship teams with the Gators (2006 and 2008) and won the Heisman in 2007.

Copyright 2017 by WPLG Local10.com - All rights reserved.