FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE) – Central Valley fire departments teamed up with the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation to raise awareness for burn victims on Thursday during the annual Central Valley Firefighters Relay.
Fire trucks and engines stopped by eight different fire stations to recognize the contributions they’ve made to the foundation.
Erika Mendoza is a burn survivor herself and the resource development manager for the foundation, which aims to reduce the number of burn injuries and provide services to burn victims.
“It just means a lot to have that sense of community, that sense of support from the fire departments,” Mendoza said. “Without them, we wouldn’t have the survivor services that we have.”
At each station they stopped at, a check presentation took place, recognizing the contributions each department has made to the foundation in the past year.
Just at their stop at the Fresno Fire Department Headquarters, the Fresno Fire Department Local 753 and the Fresno Fire Chief’s Foundation provided close to $10,000 combined.
“It’s incredibly important because it creates awareness of the AARBF and all the great work that Erika and her team are doing to help support the children that are suffering from burns,” Ryan Ivanoff, board president of the Fresno Fire Chief’s Foundation, said.
Mendoza said part of the money goes toward sending kids to Champ Camp, a week-long summer camp in Sanger for children who are burn survivors.
“Camp is just an amazing place to be at, it’s my Disney World, I love the community that you feel, the sense of safeness that you feel,” Mendoza said.
Mendoza said in total, all eight fire departments they stopped at in the Valley contributed a total of $70,000.
“Burn injuries are lifelong injuries, and it’s amazing to just have a community to be able to support you and back you up,” Mendoza said.