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October 2019 Burn Bulletin

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October 2019 Burn Bulletin

The Getaway

Over Labor Day weekend, August 31 – September 2, 19 burn survivors and 55 family members attend our annual “The Getaway” Family Burn Survivor Camp at Camp Oakhurst. This camp is intended to bring burn survivors and their family members together with others going through a similar journey. Throughout the weekend, the survivors and their family members attended workshops, rock-climbed, had paintball wars, traversed the high ropes, practiced archery, participated in the open mic night and attended the glow-in-the-dark dance.

There were support groups for participants and their families. The open mic was an opportunity for burn survivors and their families to share their story in a safe space. We would like to thank all the families that attended, as well as the 15 volunteers that took time out of their schedules to make this weekend the amazing experience it was! We can’t wait for next year!

AARBF Board and Staff Retreat

On September 4-6, 2019 all seven of the AARBF staff members met in our El Cerrito office to discuss our 2019 year and to plan for a successful 2020. Not only were we able to finalize our new tabling display items and work on our 2020 calendar, each staff member completed professional and personal goals and we were also able to have a little fun! Team activites included axe throwing and a yoga practice.

The AARBF Board of Directors and Council of Advisors met on September 6-8, 2019 in Santa Cruz, CA for their second in-person retreat for 2019. The meeting kicked off with lunch with the AARBF staff and a tour of the Santa Clara Valley Medical Center Burn Unit.

The weekend retreat included a presentation from Vasin, Heyn and Company regarding Financial Training for the Board. An additional presentation was provided by Camp Consultant Dave Malter on his findings and recommendations regarding Champ Camp. Discussions about AARBF’s 50th Anniversary were had and the weekend concluded with a Board Meeting on September 8, 2019.

We are so grateful for the Board Members (Andrew Mersmann, Russ Charvonia, Mike Bradley, Cara Goodman and Lea Elder) as well as our Council Member, Kim Tran, for attending. We were excited to welcome new Board Member Daryn Drum and new Council Member Andrea Beenham to our Board and Council as well.

Nor Cal FPO’s Golf Tournament

On September 6, 2019, the Northern California Fire Prevention Officers Association hosted their annual Nor Cal FPO’s Charity Golf Tournament at the Hiddenbrooke Golf Club in Vallejo. This was the first year they held the tournament at this course and all of the participants really enjoyed the new location! Over 100 golfers came out to support the event this year. AARBF volunteers, Elisa Castro and Michelle Chan, helped put together goodie bags, as well as watch over the hole-in-one prize at the 15th hole. Unfortunately, despite a few golfers coming close, no one got to take home the $10,000 prize.

Although the day started out foggy, the sun came out in the afternoon and it was an absolute beautiful day for golf! AARBF also recognized the Nor Cal FPO’s with a beautiful plaque for their continued support over the entire 10 years this golf tournament has been running. We are so grateful that each year the Nor Cal Fire Prevention Officers support AARBF and Champ Camp with this wonderful event. The tournament was a huge success and we can’t wait for next year!

IAFF Burn Camp

On September 14-21, 2019, San Francisco Firefighter and AARBF volunteer, Patrick “Patch” Reyes, and young burn survivor, Juan S. attended the annual IAFF Burn Camp in Washington, DC. More than 40 camps across the US and Canada sent a camper and counselor to this amazing conference. Activities included visiting the Air Force Memorial, the US Naval Academy, a trip to Mount Vernon and Arlington Cemetery and stops to the many other breathtaking monuments our capitol has to offer. Campers and counselors alike also enjoyed dressing up and attending a banquet and dance. Each year AARBF sends two individuals to represent Champ Camp and we are so glad that Patch and Juan not only brought back a lot of great knowledge but had a great time.

Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 Golf Tournament

Over the past 20 years, the Sprinkler Fitters UA Local 483 has hosted a fantastic charity golf tournament, donating more than $350,000 to AARBF and Champ Camp! This year, on September 7, 2019, the golf tournament welcomed nearly 200 golfers at the beautiful Redwood Canyon Golf Course in Castro Valley, CA. We are so grateful to this amazing group on men and women for their support and dedication over the many years of our wonderful partnership.

Chevron Gives Back

On September 11, 2019, Chevron headquarters employees gave back in a big way! Employees, including  lead volunteer Han Mai Vu, assembled an amazing 3,500 coloring book packets for our Firefighters in Safety Education (FISE) program. Thank you to Chevron and their employees for making burn prevention education a priority and helping us keep California fire and burn safe.

Central Coast Beach Adventure

On September 20 – 22, we hosted our annual Central Coast Beach Adventure for burn survivors aged 10 – 17. There were 21 young burn survivors, two Champ Camp Counselors-in-Training (CITs) and 11 volunteers that joined us in Morro Bay, CA for loads of fun in the last bit of this year’s sun!

Over the weekend we enjoyed great weather and amazing waves. We were blown away by all of the kids who participated in all our activities from surfing to kayaking. We spent most of our time kayaking with friends and watching the sea lions and sea otters. A huge thank you to all the volunteers, especially the Brunner family, that helped make this amazing weekend happen!

Rolling with South San Francisco Fire

More than 60 competitors came out on September 20, 2019 to roll some bocce balls, enjoy some delicious food and drinks, and win loads of fantastic raffle prizes at the 5th Annual South San Francisco Firefighter’s Bocce Ball Tournament in Orange Park! It was a beautiful day filled with even better company. To say their dedication to Champ Camp and AARBF is appreciated would be an understatement. We are so grateful to the South San Francisco Firefighters for their continued support of AARBF through this fun-filled annual event!

37th Annual AARBF Golf Tournament

On September 23, 2019, with the support and assistance of John Patterson and Red Pointe Roofing, we hosted our 37th Annual AARBF Golf Tournament at Via Verde Country Club in San Dimas.

Approximately 120 golfers and volunteers came out for an absolutely beautiful day of golf and the stunning views at Via Verde. Golfers received goodie bags stuffed with all sorts of amazing swag, from logo golf balls and tees to baseball caps and golf towels. After a day of golfing that included using the unique and very fun golf canon, we had a helicopter golf ball drop and the lucky winner won $800 in cash. Our opportunity drawing included awesome prizes like cash, Dodgers playoff game tickets, excellent wine, and much more! We are also incredibly grateful to the golfers who chose to donate their cash prizes back to AARBF!

We would also like to thank special guests Ethan and Brandon Ruch, Diane Host, and burn survivors Fabiola “Hamster” Velazquez and Jasmine “Rajah” Davenport for coming out to support and volunteer. It was a wonderful day in which we were able to raise more than $30,000! Without the sponsorship of Red Pointe Roofing and the leadership of John Patterson and his team, this golf tournament would not have taken place and for that, we are incredibly grateful that this phenomenal group of people have ensured that this exceptional tournament will live on.

Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts Pancake Breakfast

On September 28, we had the pleasure of attending the annual Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts Pancake Breakfast at Fire Station 4 in Mountain View, CA. Nearly 1,500 Mountain View area​ community members attended and enjoyed an amazing breakfast, firefighting technique and skills demonstrations, such as vehicle extrication, and an awesome silent auction!

AARBF Assistant Director, Daniel “Apollo” Chacon was at our booth with volunteer, Angelica “Beetle” Houston and her family. We demonstrated Stop, Drop, and Roll with the kids and helped families create fire escape plans for their homes. We are so thankful to the Mountain View Fire Department​ and the Mountain View Firefighters Random Acts for supporting us year after year with this successful and fun event!

Back to School for Andrea

On September 26, AARBF conducted a Back-to-School Re-Entry presentation for 1st grade burn survivor, Andrea B. Andrea attends Aileen Colburn School in Atwater, CA and we were able to reach 410 students with this burn prevention education presentation. This presentation also brought awareness to Andrea’s story and answered questions about her injuries that children naturally have; therefore preventing hurtful, negetive reactions her classmates may express. This presentation was done in partnership with Alexis from Community Regional Medical Center.

Andrea was very excited to use her iron man doll to wrap her old pressure garments in to show students what the healing process has been like. She accompanied us to all of the presentations and was very brave, even standing up in front of all of the classes sharing her story. We are grateful to the staff at Aileen Colburn who were very supportive, and open to having the presentations take place.

Beers for Champ Camp!

On September 28, San Francisco Fire Department Paramedic, Eddy Bird and his family hosted their annual Bad Fish Brew Co. Beerfest in Pacifica, CA. Eddy and his neighbor knock down their backyard fence to create an amazing backyard beer garden. Hundreds of friends and beer enthusiasts came out to enjoy delicious beer, food and to support a great cause. We are honored that this year marks the third year in a row that Eddy and his family have chosen to support Champ Camp! With over a dozen beers to try, this event certainly does deliver. They even provided two bouncy houses for the children to enjoy. Eddy raised an astonishing $8,500 this year and we could not be more grateful for his support and dedication.

2019 Hayward Firefighters Golf Tournament

On September 30, AARBF Development Manager, Stephanie “Pocahontas” Boydell was honored to attend the annual Hayward Firefighters Golf Tournament at the beautiful Stonebrae TPC course in Hayward, CA. It was a stunning day with approximately 75 golfers coming out to enjoy a fantastic round of golf, great food, and stellar company. We are so grateful to the Hayward Firefighters Local 1909 for inviting us out and supporting us through this fantastic event.

Remembering Alisa Ann

Between September 1 and September 30, participants raised funds and logged miles in memory of Alisa Ann Ruch as a part of the first ever Alisa Ann’s 57th Birthday Virtual Run/Walk. At age eight, Alisa Ann 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 would like to thank everyone who participated and donated over the month of September. We certainly flew past our mileage goal of 570 miles, with 965 miles logged and were able to raise more than $1,000 in memory of Alisa Ann.

Congratulations to Autumn Williams for raising the most funds and Stan Parkford for logging the most miles! Thank you to everyone who participated and donated in the memory of Alisa Ann. You can still make a $57 donation in memory of Alisa Ann at

November 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.
  • Please contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson at 818-848-0223 if you have interest in any of the following:
    • Do you enjoy data management, input and/or making calls to our amazing volunteers and community partners? We are in need of a volunteer to assist us in staying up to date with contact information for volunteers, donors, and community partners (such as fire departments).

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 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 are always looking for volunteers to help spread burn prevention education in their local community at outreach events!
  • Please contact Jan “Tabby” Share at or 818-848-0223  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.

Upcoming Events:

  • November 3: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Support Group, contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16 with any questions. 
  • November 5: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
  • November 6: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
  • November 7: East Bay Firefighters Burn Relay, contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson at or 818-848-0223  with any questions.
  • November 13: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Santa Rosa Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 x19 with any questions.
  • November 14: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Modesto Support Group, contact Erika “Kika” Corona-Mendoza at or 559-621-4016 with any questions.
  • November 21: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Online Video Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 x 18 or with any questions or to RSVP.
  • November 24: Firkin Fest at Triple Rock Brewery in Berkeley, contact Jennifer Radics-Johnson at or 818-848-0223  with any questions.
  • November 28: (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.