JBM-HH hosts International Children's Burn Camp
September 27, 2013
JOINT BASE MYER-HENDERSON HALL, Va. - Teen campers, along with counselors and staff from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) National Children's Burn Camp were given VIP treatment when the group arrived at the JBM-HH fire station Sept. 24.
The kids were captivated by their official welcoming party, snapping photographs as The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps played ceremonial music, and The U.S. Army Drill Team stood in support outside the firehouse.
JBM-HH fire fighters belong to the IAFF Local F-253, and this was the 10th year the group hosted the burn camp at the base fire station.
"It's an exciting year - ten years of being part of a great cause is always rewarding," said JBM-HH Fire Inspector James Dansereau, who coordinated the event with fellow firemen Jeff Affolder, union president, and Mike Jackson, union vice president of IAFF Local F-253. "Its amazing working with the camp and to see how it's grown is amazing," he added.
In opening remarks, JBM-HH Deputy Joint Base Commander Marine Lt. Col. John Orille gave a brief background about JBM-HH's history, and told everyone he arrived "just this month" to work on the joint base.
"As part of a joint command, our mission is to work as one all services working together and we are one team," said Orille. "All of you here today remind me of that mission and that you come together in a show of strength and support for each other and for all the other campers and fire fighter counselors across the United States and Canada and for that, I salute you."
"The International Children's Burn Camp is a great program put on by the IAFF. I'm sure you'll enjoy today's program. You'll get the best of the best today," said JBM-HH Fire Chief Russell Miller, as he thanked the group for their visit and welcomed them to the joint base.
JBM-HH Director of Emergency Services, Lt. Col. Macedonio R. Molina also welcomed the visitors, saying he was glad to be part of the 10th anniversary of the base hosting the burn camp.
"We were able to find 44 kids and pair each with a counselor [to represent their local burn camps] from the 52 camps around the U.S. and Canada this year," said David Petruccelli, fire fighter from Portland, Maine, and the assistant burn camp director. Additionally, 12 camp staff accompanied the group, he said.
"These campers are selected from their individual camps as model citizens and who will benefit most from this experience. It's a once in a lifetime opportunity," he added.
"I was extremely excited about this [burn camp]. It's awesome coming here and seeing everything," said Kaylee Goff, 14, of Clinton, Miss. Her counselor, Tammy Moore of Petal, Miss., is the Mississippi Burn Camp director. Moore said Goff was selected as a camper for the International Children's Burn Camp because of an essay she wrote.
"She really stood out among the others who applied because she listed the opportunities she'd benefit from by attending - from meeting other burn survivors, the educational component and that someone [like her] from a small town in Mississippi would get this opportunity," said Moore.
The group was treated to performances by The Old Guard Fife and Drum Corps and The U.S. Army Drill Team. Following the entertainment, they spent time posing for photos with The Old Guard members, then enjoyed a picnic-style meal of sandwiches, potato salad, chips, cookies and cake.
Anwar Glasgow, 15, of Silver Spring, Md., and his counselor, firefighter Brian Carhart of Centreville, Md., met at the Mid-Atlantic Burn Camp in Harrisonburg, Va., and were paired together on this trip. "I feel honored to be here, it's a great experience," said Glasgow. He said he enjoyed the drill team performance. "They have so much confidence and trust in one another. It was amazing," said Glasgow.
"This year we've had a word of the day and some of the words have been commitment, integrity, respect and responsibility. I think events like this [on JBM-HH] show all of these things. The kids are amazed at the dedication both groups show between the precision of moving and playing music [from The Fife and Drum Corps] and The [U.S. Army] Drill Team and what they do," said Petruccelli. "It inspires them to have more confidence, flourish and move forward."