Tuesday, December 11, 2012

3 Alarm Toy Drive Brings Comfort & Cheer To Burned Children

Local firefighters ready to play Santa for another year.

SANFORD – In 1996, two firefighters with the Sanford Fire Department envisioned a way to bring Christmas cheer to burned children. More than 20 years and thousands of gifts later, they're still at it.

"Our first goal was to support the Burn Center," explains David Nance, a long-time firefighter and co-founder of the 3 Alarm Toy Drive with fellow firefighter Frank Layton. "We just wanted to make those kids' lives a little bit easier, especially during Christmas," Nance says.

However, as the toy drive grew, the department has been able to supply gifts for Lee County Schools, the Department of Social Services, the Salvation Army, and other local charities.

For example, Nance and other firefighters took an enclosed 16-foot trailer full of toys, blankets, hygiene items, and more to the Rocky Mount Fire Department when a hurricane flooded that region. They also sent a load to Mississippi after a tornado ripped through several towns.

But the NC Jaycee Burn Center at UNC is near and dear to local firefighters' hearts, and their top priority. The Lee County chapter of the North Carolina Firefighters’ Burned Children Fund – also founded by Nance and Layton –provides support and assistance throughout the year to families of children who've been burned and local firefighters visit with patients at the Burn Center frequently.

Playing Santa is just one more way we can brighten the lives of those children and adults, adds Layton.

To learn more about the Lee County Firefighters' Burned Children Fund, go to www.ffbcf.org. For questions about the 3 Alarm Toy Drive, call 919-775-8242.

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