Humanitarian Profile: Fire Chief Tom Neidert Among the Space Coast’s Most Active Philanthropists
By Maria Sonnenberg // November 26, 2020
Whenever there is a need Tom pops up to help, bringing a lot of firemen power right behind
BREVARD COUNTY, FLORIDA – In the name of a good cause, Brevard County Fire Rescue District 45 Chief Tom Neidert has done everything from shaving his locks on a regular basis to falling off a tree and getting a concussion.
Whenever there is a need, Tom seems to pop up to help, bringing a lot of firemen power right behind. Asked to list the efforts he has supported, he doesn’t know where to start.
“They are just too many to remember,” he said.
As a board member of the Brevard County Sheriff’s Office Charity, he raised plenty of cash to help first responders and their families facing hardships – as well as for nonprofits such as the Pet Posse and the Police Athletic League – through projects such as Dancing with Brevard, Battle of the Badges and the Haunted Jail Trail.
While setting up the Trail this year, Neidert fell off a tree and ended in the hospital with a concussion. He shrugged it off as part of a day’s work.
Every year, he raises thousands of dollars for the American Cancer Society and Breast Friends through the sale of pink t-shirts that his firefighting colleagues happily purchase.
Neidert himself has looked resplendent in a bright pink suit to help further the sale of the shirts.
The local chapter of the St. Baldrick’s Foundation amasses the largest amount of money per capita in the United States in no small part because of Neidert, a team captain.
Team members shave their heads for donations to raise funds for kids with cancer, so Neidert has sported a baldpate several months out of the year every year since 2014.
In 2017, Tom was a co-founder of the Caribbean Fire Rescue Benevolent group, which has delivered three completely stocked fire engines, 30 automatic electronic defibrillators, an ambulance and thousands of dollars of equipment, plus training in CPR and firefighting response to struggling island municipalities.
Some weekends, you could find Tom out in the Indian River, towing derelict boats behind his own boat. The boats were then trailered out to the dump, saving taxpayers thousands of dollars.
Tom also works hard to increase financial support for Elves for Elders, a holiday program that provides personal hygiene products to local indigent elderly residents.
Come Thanksgiving, Neidert dresses up as the Grinch to participate in the Light Up Viera holiday parade. Tom’s costume choice is unusual because this modest humanitarian is the polar opposite of the Grinch.