TAMPA, Fla. — On Thursday, Owen Ares got a visit from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers Chief Operating Officer Brian Ford at Tampa General Hospital. Owen is still recovering after Hillsborough County deputies rescued him from a house fire in Seffner last month.
Prior to the accident, Owen spent a lot of his free time playing football. He says it's his favorite sport to play and watch. Growing up in Tampa, his favorite team is the Bucs.
"I like Tom Brady and I like Mike Evans," he said.
During his visit to the hospital, Ford brought the team's super bowl ring for Owen to try on.
"It felt good and it was really heavy," Owen described. It was a moment the 9-year-old says he will never forget.
On Tuesday, Owen took his first steps since being admitted to the hospital.
"I was kind of walking it by myself but they were kind of helping me, like guiding me," he said.
Two days later, Owen was able to walk through the hospital hallways without help. His mom, Karen McGinnis, said it has been incredible to see him persevere through all of the pain he has felt.
“There were just moments we didn't know if he was going to make it through this," she said.
Owen and his mom both say the help and support from the community have made a huge difference during the recovery process.
“It just shows me how much of a wonderful town we live in," McGinnis said.
Besides his two favorite Bucs players, Owen says two other heroes in his life are the two deputies who saved him. McGinnis says they are planning to have Owen meet the deputies sometime next week.