May 2019 Burn Bulletin

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May 2019 Burn Bulletin

On April 5, 2019, Safe Kids Kings County hosted a Safe Kids Day community outreach event. There were 812 first grade students in attendance that received presentations from different fire agencies, all targeting safety and prevention education. AARBF teamed up with Kings County Fire to provide prevention education on “Stop, Drop and Roll”, how/when to call 911, crawl low and go, having a safety plan and so much more. It was a great event with a fantastic turn out. The kids where enthusiastic and intrigued by all the new information they were receiving to help keep them safe.

American Burn Association Conference

Kids are staying safe in Kings County

It was a busy week for the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation at the American Burn Association’s 51st Annual Meeting on April 2-5, 2019 in Las Vegas, NV! AARBF Executive Director, Jennifer Radics-Johnson, and Assistant Director, Daniel Chacon, were in attendance and led the charge on a number of initiatives and programs at this year’s conference. As the Chair for the Federation of Burn Foundations, Jennifer organized the Federation’s annual meeting, welcoming more than 50 representatives from burn foundations from throughout North America. As the Chair for the Burn Prevention Committee, Jennifer managed the Committee’s annual in-person meeting and presented on “Utilizing Large Databases in a Burn Foundation.” As Founder of the California Burn Foundations Association, Jennifer hosted a meeting welcoming burn foundations from throughout California to meet and collaborate on projects. Most importantly, Jennifer Radics-Johnson was invited to present on her abstract, “Nationwide Assessment of Fire and Burn Prevention Efforts” at the 51st Annual Conference.

Assistant Director, Daniel Chacon, was hard at work providing in-service presentations regarding Champ Camp and AARBF programs and services at the University Medical Center’s Burn Unit in Las Vegas, NV. AARBF Board Member Lea “Kamikaze” Elder was also able to lend her support with these presentations! In addition, as President for the International Association of Burn Camps, Daniel was busy attending a Board Meeting and ensuring that their Annual meeting ran smoothly.

There were a number of familiar faces at this year’s conference including AARBF Board Members Lea Elder and Cara Goodman, AARBF Council of Advisor Member James Bosch, AARBF Former Board Member Jill Sproul and AARBF longtime volunteers Dr. Ruth Rimmer, Trevor “T-Man” Martinusen and Shari “Do-Re-Mi” Martinusen! Jennifer, Daniel and Lea even had an evening to hangout with Champ Camp counselors and Las Vegas residents La La and Fit Bit! Overall it was a great conference with great programming, great networking and great friends!

Monkey-ing around at the LA Zoo

On April 6, 2019 AARBF hosted an outing at the Los Angeles Zoo for burn survivors ages 5-17. Survivors enjoyed seeing all the amazing animals at the zoo and had a delicious lunch. A special thank you to the fantastic Southern CA volunteers who spent the day with us at the zoo: Shannon “Goofball” Collins, Andrew “Monkey” Mersmann, Osbaldo “Oz” Gutierrez, Alonso “Looney” Fernandez, Amber “Bambi” Villasenor, Fabiola “Hamster” Velazquez, and Jasmine “Rajah” Davenport. We had a wonderful day at the zoo and we cannot wait for next year.

We love our volunteers!

Volunteer Appreciation Week was April 7 – 14, 2019 and we hosted an Annual Volunteer Appreciation Awards Event on April 11, 2019. All week we profiled the winners of our Volunteer Appreciation Awards on our social media pages and on April 11 we had the opportunity to show them, and all our volunteers, just how much we appreciate them. We are grateful to the volunteers and their families that made it out to one of our three regional events, Pasadena, Fresno, and El Cerrito. We enjoyed the best possible company, a nacho bar and an awards presentation that evening. We are grateful to all our volunteers and enjoyed the opportunity to show them just how much they mean to us and honor the below award winners.
2019 Volunteer Appreciation Week Award Recipients:
Regional Administration Award
Southern CA – Andrew “Monkey” Mersmann
Northern CA – Elliott Reynolds
Central CA – Scott “Poindexter” Mellon
Regional Fundraising Award
Southern CA – Ken and Toni Hewett
Northern CA – Sprinkler Fitters UA Local 483
Central CA – Fresno Fire Chief’s Foundation
Regional Burn Prevention Award
Southern CA – Andrew Clemens and Michael Shifflett
Northern CA – Patrick “Patch” Reyes
Central CA – Stacey Nolan
Regional Burn Survivor Award
Southern CA – Fabiola “Hamster” Velazquez
Northern CA – Rob “Jack Rabbit” Hecocks
Central CA – Trever “T-Man” Martinusen and the Bakersfield Firefighters Burn Foundation
People’s Choice Award
– Tina “Skittles” Martinez
Community Partner Award
– Community Regional Medical Center Leon S. Peters Burn Center
Champy-On Award
– Mike “Otter” and Evie “Mouser” Gonzales
Ruch Family Circle Award
– David “Shakespeare” and Karen “Smiley” Miller
Go to our Facebook page at to read each volunteer’s story!

We turned 48!

On April 15, 2019 the Alisa Ann Ruch Burn Foundation celebrated its 48th Anniversary. Forty-eight years ago AARBF was founded after at the age of eight years old, Alisa Ann Ruch was fatally injured in a backyard barbecue accident in Southern California. Bravely using their tragedy as a catalyst for change, Alisa Ann’s parents, local firefighters and medical professionals joined together and created AARBF in 1971 with the goal of preventing burn injuries by teaching “Stop, Drop, and Roll.” We asked our donors and volunteers to consider donating $48 in honor of the programs and services we have been providing to Californian’s for the last 48 years. We were able to raise $1,262 in Alisa Ann’s honor, thanks to our generous and dedicated volunteers and donors.

Sleeping with the Fishes

On April 13-14, 2019, 28 burn survivors, 10 volunteers and two AARBF staff members from Northern and Central California attended our annual Monterey Bay Aquarium Sleepover event for survivors ages 5-17. We want to give a huge thank you to the Monterey Fire Department and IAFF Local 3707 for providing us with such a delicious dinner Saturday evening while next to the waves at San Carlos Beach in Monterey, CA. They also provided tour of their engine and fire boat. Meanwhile, the group was able to spend the day at the park playing outdoor games like football, catch, tag, hide and seek and so much more.
We then proceeded to enter the aquarium, and the children were given the opportunity to explore the aquarium once it was closed off to the public on Saturday evening. We also had the opportunity to sleep soundly under the lights of the giant fish tank in the “Fragile Seas” area. While we feel drifted off to sleep, we were able to see sea turtles, sharks, sting rays and many more fish swim around up above. The next morning the group joined the Monterey Fire Department once again for a delicious breakfast at the fire station.
After breakfast, we headed back to the aquarium for the rest of the day to even more! We got to see penguins, sea otters, jelly fish, hammer head sharks, a huge octopus and so much more. We’d also like to express our gratitude to the Monterey Bay Aquarium staff, as they made sure the group had everything we needed during our stay to be as comfortable as possible. They provided snacks for our group and the few others that spent the weekend there as well. All the kids had huge smiles on their faces and many have shared that this is one of their favorite events. We cannot wait for next year! A last special thank you to the volunteers that joined us and made this trip possible, we had record numbers this year and we are so grateful for your continued dedication and support.

Colma Chicken and Polenta Dinner

On April 13, 2019 the Colma Firemen’s Social Club hosted their Annual Colma Chicken and Polenta Dinner at the Colma Fire Department. For decades now, the Colma Firefighters have been raising thousands of dollars each year to go towards Champ Camp and AARBF. This year, nearly 300 Colma community members came out to enjoy some of the most delicious chicken, sausages and, of course, world famous polenta around. We are so thankful to the Colma Firefighters for their continued support and dedication to the burn community and burn prevention education.

Conference of the Rockies

On April 23 – 25, 2019, AARBF Assistant Director, Daniel “Apollo” Chacon attended the Conference of the Rockies hosted just outside of Denver, CO in Estes Park. This conference is for public education and community risk reduction professionals to share resources and knowledge about the current challenges that face them. Daniel presented the AARBF 2017 FEMA grant and our findings regarding behavioral change with burn prevention education. He had the opportunity to learn the latest and greatest programs in prevention and network with other professionals in the field. He also enjoyed the company of our friend from Woodside Fire Department and Champ Camp volunteer, Selena “Pookie” Brown.

Pancakes, Firefighters, and Burn Prevention Education...oh my!

On April 27, 2019, the Santa Clara County Firefighters hosted their annual Santa Clara County Fire Department Pancake Breakfast and Open House. Hundreds of community members came out to enjoy a delicious breakfast, tours of the fire station, and necessary safety resources. Every year this wonderful department selects AARBF to receive all the donations made by the generous community members of Saratoga! AARBF Development Manager, Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell, was there teaching kids and adults about fire and burn safety; everyone was practicing Stop, Drop, and Roll… even babies and dollies. A big thank you to the SCC Firefighters for continuing to support AARBF with this great event and providing a wonderful way for a community to come together and better understand the live-saving work your firefighters do.

Grow Your ``Stache and Bows for Dough are in full swing!

Our Grow Your ‘Stache and Bows for Dough fundraising competitions may have begun on Monday, May 13, 2019 but there is still plenty of time to start or join a team. Go to or for more information, to donate, or to join in the fun!

June Hot List!

Volunteer Opportunities:

  • Northern California Volunteer Opportunities
    • Please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 if you have interest in any of the following:
      • Each year, AARBF partners with the San Francisco Fire Department to educate thousands of kids in fire and burn prevention. This program also entails pre- and post- tests to track learning. We need help pairing students’ pre- and post- tests and scanning them so that they can be graded by a computer program and analyzed by a statistician.
      • General office administrative tasks such as printing, filing, mailings, data entry, organization, etc.
  • Central California Volunteer Opportunities
    •  Please contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 if you have interest in volunteering for the following:
      • We are in need of additional over-night chaperones for Champ Camp June 14-15, 2019 to pick up kids from Champ Camp and ride       back on the bus with them.
      • We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!
  • Southern California Volunteer Opportunities
    •  Please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 x16 if you have interest in any of the following:
      • We have an opportunity to assist as a volunteer in our Pasadena office with administrative duties such as filing.
      • We are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!

Upcoming Events:

• June 2: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.

• June 2: (4:00pm – 6:00pm), SoCal Grupo de Apoyo en Espanol, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions.

• June 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.

• June 5: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.

• June 8: (8:00am – 12:00pm), Central County Firefighters Pancake Breakfast, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.

• June 8 – 15: Champ Camp Ohana!

• June 11: (6:30pm – 7:30pm), Central California Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 with any questions.

• June 12: Champ Camp Chili Cook-off and Media Day, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.

• June 12: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.

• June 20: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Modesto Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 with any questions.

• June 20: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), NEW Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or with any questions or to RSVP.

• June 23: Oakland Athletics Firefighter Appreciation Fundraiser Game & Burn Survivor Event, contact Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 17 with any questions.

• June 29: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Hospital Burn Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.

If you missed any of our past Burn Bulletins, please check out our archives.

Just a reminder to go to; click on Upcoming Events, for the latest AARBF events and activities that need your support.