Fred Robbins is both a well-known and well-respected member of the greater-Pensacola community.
Robbins — a former NFL defensive star who helped the New York Giants clench a 2008 victory in Super Bowl XLII — is associated with the game of football and known for his days playing on the field.
But work helping to instill values and wisdom into the minds of young men through the mentorship program he co-founded with his wife, Tia, called Mr. Robbins Neighborhood, earned him the respect of his community off the field as well.
Now, friends and family of Fred and Tia Robbins are calling on the community to help in a time of need after the family’s house in Gulf Breeze was devastated by a fire early Tuesday morning.
Friends and relatives of Robbins’ immediate family have set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help support the family in the immediate aftermath of the fire.
The GoFundMe webpage can be found at: www.gofundme.com/f/robbins-family-friends-fire-relief-fund
The fundraiser was created by Tia's mother, two sisters and Madrina Ciano, who is a close friend of the Robbins family.
“To me the natural assumption is, ‘Well, why do we need to rally behind a Super Bowl champ?'” Ciano said, about what she assumes the general public may think about the fundraiser she helped to setup for Robbins and his family.
“But I don’t care who you are and what stage of life you’re in, this is a big thing to bounce back from,” Ciano continued. “And who’s got money just sitting on hand to go buy every single essential that you need?”
The Robbins have dedicated much of their time in Pensacola to volunteering in the community, not just in their signature program but in many others including the Pensacola Chapter of Jack and Jill of America and IMPACT 100.
Fred Robbins’ sister-in-law, Toni Watts Johnson, told the News Journal via text message Wednesday that the Robbins family was not taking interviews.
Responding units included fire crews from the Midway and Holley-Navarre departments. Escambia County Fire Rescue assisted in fighting the fire. The cause of the fire remained under investigation as of Wednesday, according to Ellers.
Ciano confirmed that all the members of the Robbins family who were at home at the time of the fire made it safely out of the home.
Ciano said that she has spoken to Tia multiple times since the fire and that she’d been told the Robbins lost almost all of their possessions due to the incident.
“It was 3:30 in the morning. They were in their PJs. They had to go buy a toothbrush and change of clothes just to make it through day one,” Ciano said. “And it’s a family of four and they lost everything from school clothes to activities that the boys liked. I know they plucked her wedding ring out of the rubble as well as his Super Bowl ring. But overall, it’s pretty much a total loss. So, imagine all that history.”
She later added, “I don’t care if you’re a Super Bowl champ or you’re affluent, this is a lot to bounce back from and there will be a lot of immediate needs. So my intent for the fund was to allow them cash flow to meet those needs as they occurred.”
This article originally appeared on Pensacola News Journal: Fred Robbins: Ex-NFL star loses Florida home in fire