KID FOR OTHERS: 7-year-old Kearny boy sells juice & lemonade to buy lunches for first responders

KEARNY —

Brandon Marrero is your typical 7-year-old, a perpetual motion machine who looks comfortable in big, floppy character shirts.

Last week, a visitor to his Hoyt St. home caught the youngster fixated on operating a remote to propel a slew of vehicles down the highway in a simulated road/sea/air adventure.

“I’m a kinda good driver,” Brandon exclaimed, pointing the visitor to an X-box screen to document his claim.

He’s also been an enterprising salesman for a cause that’s as close to his heart as racing and, no doubt, more so.

“I wanted to do something nice for my friends at the Kearny Police Department, the Kearny Fire Department and the county corrections,” Brandon said.

Seems that the youngster, who has completed first-grade at Franklin School, wanted to demonstrate his affection by offering some midday culinary treats to the folks he calls his “superheroes.”

How things played out was that during the Memorial Day weekend, Brandon with a little help from parents Alberto and Brigett Marrero set up a fruit drink stand in front of Veteran’s Memorial Field where the annual parade was scheduled to kick off.

Rain ended up canceling that event, but Brandon’s juice stand aided and abetted by several of his buddies in uniform did a brisk business, according to his mom.

Still, to do a proper job feeding his buddies, he needed more capital, so Brigett came to the rescue by setting up a GoFundMe account on behalf of Brandon to solicit donations.

After a successful campaign had collected sufficient funds, Brandon targeted the Hudson County Corrections Officers as his initial beneficiaries a natural choice since his uncle, Juan Cruz, has been a county jail guard for the past 18 years.

To arrange for a visit, Brigett reached out to an administrator at the jail in South Kearny. After learning that it was a 7-year-old, rather than some organization, that wanted to befriend the officers, “he was intrigued,” she recalled.

After getting permission, the Marreros arranged for the purchase and delivery of 30 pizza pies to the jail in South Kearny on July 3. Brigett remembers it was a happy time for her son.

“There were over 100 officers on duty that day and they’d come in for lunch with us, 10 at a time, in the lounge. They welcomed Brandon as part of their family and he hung out with them for nearly three hours. They played games with him and gave him some HCCC patches.”

Next, it was the KFD’s turn. Brandon had already made connections with some of Kearny’s Bravest because the Marreros live within walking distance of the Davis Ave. firehouse.

On July 26, Brandon was welcomed at the Midland Ave. KFD headquarters where he made some new friends during a two-hour sojourn as he and some 20 firefighters shared a big spread of sandwiches the Marreros brought with them.

Afterward, Brandon got a tour of the facility.

“He went on the fire boat, went on all the fire trucks, got to turn on the siren, got to open all the compartments on the truck and see what’s in there, saw the kitchen and the sleeping quarters,” his mom said.

Later this month, Brandon hopes to pay a similar visit to the KPD.

“He wants to do something nice for them for helping all the people.” That’s how Brandon’s mom summarized her son’s philosophy.

Brandon’s affinity for folks in uniform makes perfect sense when you learn that his dad served in the military for eight years.

Paterson native Alberto Marrero saw combat duty with the Army in the Middle East during 2008-2009, before returning stateside, where he continued service in the National Guard and, in Kearny, he’s an active member of the VFW.

Ron Leir | Observer Correspondent

Ron Leir has been a newspaperman since the late ’60s, starting his career with The Jersey Journal, having served as a summer reporter during college. He became a full-time scribe in February 1972, working mostly as a general assignment reporter in all areas except sports, including a 3-year stint as an assistant editor for entertainment, features, religion, etc. He retired from the JJ in May 2009 and came to The Observer shortly thereafter. He is also a part-time actor, mostly on stage, having worked most recently with the Kearny-based W.H.A.T. Co. and plays Sunday softball in Central Park, N.Y.