- Published: August 10, 2016
Every year, as a part of our annual programming, the Houston Fire Fighters Burned Children’s Fund sends firefighters to attend Camp Janus. This camp for pediatric burn survivors is near and dear to our hearts – a special treat we look forward to throughout the year. For the children who attend, it is a welcome retreat from the often harsh world of their peers, and for the firefighters it is a unique opportunity to act as a role model, mentor, and friend.
I will never forget the first time we met Katharine. We had just arrived at camp and some of the firefighters were feeling unsure about how to connect. Katharine was working on her arts and crafts project and one of the firefighters sat next to her. Katharine worked quietly next to him and after a few minutes looked up and said, “Thank you!” Katharine could tell from the firefighters puzzled expression he didn’t understand, and she went on to explain, “When my dad and I were in a fire, firemen saved our lives. Thank you.”
As we got to know Katharine we were amazed by her story. In 2008, Katharine’s family sought refuge from Hurricane Ike at the restaurant in Houston where Katharine's father worked. While 4 year-old Katharine slept, a fire broke out and engulfed her room. Katharine's father dove into the room and emerged with Katharine in his arms. Both father and daughter sustained serious burns to more than 50 percent and 70 percent of their bodies and were airlifted to an area hospital. Katharine is now 12 years old and is a happy, vivacious and busy child. She has attended Camp Janus for several years now, and last year received the Joe McCort Outstanding Camper Award for her many acts of kindness and selflessness. The firefighters look forward to seeing her at camp every year!
Your purchase of this calendar supports the Houston Fire Fighters Burned Children’s Fund which makes programs like Camp Janus possible. It ensures that children like Katharine have the confidence and courage to shine.