Garner Fire made it’s annual trek to the University of North Carolina Saturday to visit the Jaycee Burn Center. For well over 25 years firefighters and members of their families have made it a part of their Christmas tradition to carry gifts to the patients who have to spend the holiday in the hospital.
Captain Don Johnson heads up the annual project for the Department. “I look forward to this every year. We are able to brighten the Christmas season even if it is just for a few hours,” Johnson said.
Johnson also played the role of Santa as he has for the last 16 years. “The children are just so special, you don’t see a lot of smiles in the burn center. The smiles are everywhere when Santa walks into the room with gifts,” he said.
The Department also donated $12,500 to be used for Patient Aftercare which includes the annual camp for burn survivors.
“Camp Celebrate is a camp that is held every May for young people who have been patients of the Burn Center. Each camper rides to the camp in a fire engine and it is their chance to share a weekend with other survivors and enjoy all that the camp can provide. This camp is offered to the families at no cost. The money that we donate helps to pay for the camp as well as other aftercare projects,” Johnson said. The Department made the presentation during their annual Ladies Night Saturday December 10th . The total donation with gifts and cash totaled $15,000.
“This money comes from the people of the Garner area. They support Firemen’s Day each October and we give a sizeable percentage of our proceeds to the burn center. They are miracle workers over there and we are so blessed to help them out,” Johnson said.