Holiday party reunites burn survivors with their heroes - The CW San Diego - News 8

Holiday party reunites burn survivors with their heroes

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SAN DIEGO (NEWS 8) – It was a heartwarming holiday celebration Saturday for hundreds of local burn survivors, as Mission Valley's Fire Station 45 opened their doors for the Burn Institute's Annual Holiday Party where Santa met with firefighters, burn victims and their families.

“We recognize that they've been through a trauma, so we want to keep them healthy and full for the rest of their lives,” said Susan Day the Executive Director of the Burn Institute.

This was the Mission Valley Fire Station's first time hosting the celebration.

“This is just a great opportunity for us to reconnect with them,” added San Diego Fire-Rescue Chief Colin Stowell.

A reunion that lets the burn survivors meet up with their heroes.

“It has been all smiles. We have had a fabulous day and for the struggles that they've gone through, challenges that they've had for years, for them to just come down here and be kids,” continued Stowell.

“It's pretty terrifying any time you see your child injured,” said Rachel Medina the mother of two burn survivors.

Medina remembers when two of her children were severely burned on their hands and leg. 

"Such an eye opener because you realize how lucky you are to have people [who] have been through the same experience,” added Median.

“They've all been through a trauma, and I think the whole family experiences a trauma differently,” Day said. 

Saturday’s event allowed the kids to be a firefighter for the day, have their faces painted and enjoy holiday arts and crafts. The event also proved to be a rewarding day for volunteers.

“Coming back and seeing them be normal kids and enjoy Santa is always fun,” said Eli Strait who works as a program manager at the Burn Institute.

Santa, who posed for photo after photo, is also a burn survivor. He was in town from Long Beach to further make the season brighter.

“This is my family right here. These are my people. I’ve known lots of these people for a long time. After all Santa knows everybody right."

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