Garner Fire-Rescue made the holidays a little brighter for patients at the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center at UNC Hospitals. Members of the department and their families visited the center on Dec. 14, and distributed presents to over 30 patients. The annual visit to the burn center has been a tradition for the department for over 25 years.
“No one can remember exactly when we started going to the burn center, but it is one of the highlights of our year,” said Captain Don Johnson, who also plays Santa for the event. “I look forward to seeing their faces light up when we enter the room. It has to be horrible to be burned and have to be in the hospital. But, it is even worse to be in there during Christmas. We try to boost their spirits during this difficult time.”
The members of Garner Fire-Rescue use funds that they raise during their annual Firemen’s Day to purchase the presents. This year they not only donated gifts, but added a cash donation to bring the total gift to over $10,000.
“We had an amazing Firemen’s Day. Because of that we felt it was only right to share our good fortune with the folks at the burn center,” Johnson said. “This gift may be presented by the Fire Department but it definitely comes from everyone who comes out in October. None of this would be possible without the people supporting Firemen’s Day every year.”