September 2022 Burn Bulletin

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September 2022 Burn Bulletin

Join Us in October

The 50th Celebration is less than five weeks away! Have you purchased your tickets? This will be a one-of-a-kind event featuring some of LA’s best food trucks including, Kogi Truck, Vivace Pizza, Cousins Maine Lobster, Longshot Coffee and Coolhaus Ice Cream. We will also be enjoying wine courtesy of the Foley family.

We look forward to you joining us on Saturday, October 15 from 5:30pm – 10:00pm at the Los Angeles Fire Department Museum in Hollywood. In addition to great food and wine, we will have both a live and silent auction. Visit our event page at to purchase tickets, make a donation (if you are unable to join us), and see some of the items up for bid.

Thank you to our auction donors: Let’s Roam, The Broad, Langham Huntington Pasadena, The Huntington Gardens and Museum, The Godfrey Hotel Hollywood, Picaboo, Malibu Wine Hikes, LA Phil/Hollywood Bowl Charitable, Kendra Scott Jewelry, Halper Fine Art, Hollywood Wax Museum, Pacific Park on the Santa Monica Pier, Oriental Trading, CVS Health, Emerald Isle Golf Course, Skirball Cultural Center, Channel Islands Law Group, Ink of 100 Pens, United Fencing Academy and Chipotle Mexican Grill.  We are still accepting auction items. To make a silent/live auction donation, contact Katie Szymczak at

Thank you to our generous sponsors: Gold: Matthew Cunningham/ Cunningham Law Firm; Bronze: Avita Medical, Channel Islands Law Group, F&A Federal Credit Union, Anonymous; Supporter: Ruth Rimmer / Care Plans For Life LLC; Friend: Jennifer Radics-Johnson, Julie Burns, Jeff Gordy, and Alisa Weber; Wine Sponsor: Foley Family Wines. Sponsorships are still available, visit our event page today.

Kayaking Fun in SoCal

On Saturday, August 6, 2022, Southern CA burn survivors enjoyed a day of kayaking in Long Beach. The day started with our seven burn survivors and their guests meeting up at Kayaks on the Water in Long Beach. We also enjoyed a cool water display thanks to the Los Angeles Fire Department, Long Beach Fire Station 21. After a great time kayaking, everyone traveled to a local park for lunch and a bit of shade. We appreciate Bob Aymar, his wife Leslie, daughter Lindsay, niece Megan, and daughter Amy for hosting a fabulous lunch. And a special thank you to Lindsay for baking cookies and other treats! It was a wonderful day filled with kayaking, chatting and sharing stories with one another.

AARBF Looking Ahead to 2023

In August, our staff, Board of Directors and Council of Advisors were able to spend together in Solvang, CA at their biannual retreats.

AARBF staff held their retreat August 10-12, 2022. Over the three days, they reviewed the successes of 2022, planned for 2023, and came together as a team. They also spent some time outdoors. The staff was able to participate in several team building activities from feeding the ostriches and emus, to lending a hand packing up meals for People Helping People (PHP). Our team enjoyed the experience of spending time with PHP, meeting new people and learning about PHP and the impact on their community. There are many activities they could have chosen for their team building, but we are proud of our team, Daniel Chacon, McKenzie Dern, Scott Wertz, Margarita Rodriguez and Katie Szymczak for choosing to give of themselves and help PHP further their mission.

On Friday, staff met up with the board and council members to learn how to bake Danish pastries at Olsen’s Bakery by Mr. Olsen himself!

The AARBF board and council members met August 12-14, 2022. They reviewed and updated the strategic plan, brainstormed fundraising ideas, prevention improvements, new survivor programs and held their monthly meeting in which they passed two nominations for new council of advisor members. They also ate a ton of food and shared many laughs together!

We are so thankful for our staff, board, and council members for all of their hard work and dedication to AARBF.

Working to Improve Prevention Messaging

For many years fire departments and burn organizations have been using a number of fire safety messages for their public outreach efforts. However, the question has arisen as to whether these messages have been evaluated for both accuracy and effectiveness. It is now more critical than ever to ensure that when we do reach out to the public that we are maximizing our ability to affect behavioral change with these messages – we cannot waste the opportunities that we have.

To accomplish this, we assembled a team of Subject Matter Experts and are developing a methodology for evaluating any fire safety message that can be scaled and distributed throughout the fire and burn safety community and departments. This will allow anyone to do the same evaluative process on their own messaging for accuracy and effectiveness. Funding for this project has been awarded by FEMA through a two-year grant.

On August 16-18, 2022, many of the team members working on this project met in-person in Los Angeles. The team reviewed the goals and objectives as well as the progress that has already been made. They created an action plan that includes how Pilot Testing will be executed including Testing and Evaluation Protocols to determine effectiveness during the testing period. Watch for more information on this project in the coming months!

Are You on the List?

We have a monthly email designed exclusively for burn survivors and their family and supporters. Included in the email is information about upcoming events and activities specific to your region as well as those available state-wide. Members of our mailing list get early access to this information and have the opportunity to register first. If you would like to be on our list, contact your Regional Manager or email and provide your name, email address and your region. Outside of California? Not to worry, we have an email for you too!

The Healing Power of Music

On August 25, 2022, Bob Aymar led our Music Expression session. During the session, Bob shared about the impact music has hand on his life. He discussed the natural rhythm and harmony of various things in life, such as the whistle of the wind in the tree, the trickle of running water, and the chirping of birds. This was the foundation on which he was able to calm his mind, slow his breathing and focus on his music. This technique is considered music therapy and the healing power of music. Bob then helped our ten participants learn how to relate this learning into their own lives. He taught them how to use music therapy in their day to day lives to help calm their minds. Thank you, Bob for showing us how music is everywhere!

AARBF Attends IABC Workshop

On August 26-29, 2022, AARBF’s Daniel Chacon was joined by Rocks, Zinger, and Tex to attend the International Association of Burn Camps (IABC) Workshop in Chicago. As the IABC Chair, Daniel has spent the past several months assisting with the planning for this workshop. Sessions included Power of Camp and Power of Connection, Rehearse Your Response, Camp and Fundraising, Trauma Sensitive Yoga, The 5 Critical Activities of Camp Health Services, Being Therapeutic at Camp Without Being a Therapist, Diversity in Camping, and The Role of Camp in Recovery and Resiliency Building. We were also excited to see many of our friends from across North America, including Bacon and Kika!

Time to Tee Off

There is still time to register for two upcoming golf tournaments benefiting AARBF.

The 39th annual Southern California Golf Tournament will be held on Monday, September 19, 2022. The golf tournament will be held at the Via Verde Golf Club in San Dimas, CA.

The cost is $220 per golfer and your entry includes golf, cart, dinner, tee gift, and more. If you are unable to make it to the tournament, you can still join us for dinner at 5:30PM!

Visit the 39th Annual Golf Tournament page for sponsorship and registration information:

Sprinkler Fitters Local 483 is hosting their 25th Annual Golf Tournament supporting their Scholarship and Community Fund and AARBF. The tournament will be held on Saturday, September 24, 2022 at the Redwood Canyon Golf Course in Castro Valley, CA. The entry fee is $100 per golfer which includes fees, cart, tee prizes, food, awards and the entry raffle.

Visit the Golf Tournament page on our website at: to download the registration form.

Volunteer Opportunties:

Please check with your regional office for more information on upcoming volunteer opportunities.

For Northern California, please contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19

For Central California, please contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15

For Southern California, please contact Margarita “Cubby” Rodriguez at or 818-848-0223 Ext. 16

Upcoming Events:

Upcoming Events 

September 30: NorCal FPO Golf Tournament, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.


October 1: Moraga-Orinda Fire District Open House & Pancake Breakfast, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 2: (1:30pm – 3:30pm), SoCal Survivors Online Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 4: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Santa Clara Valley Medical Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

October 6: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Caregiver Support Group – Online Video Support, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

October 8: Sunnyvale Pancake Breakfast

October 8: Menlo Park Fire Prevention Week Station 6 Opening, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 9-15: Fire Prevention Week

October 11: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), Fresno Community Regional Medical Center Online Support Group, contact McKenzie “Bubbles” Dern at or 559-286-0710 Ext. 15 to receive log-in information.

October 12: (6:30pm – 8:00pm), East Bay Burn Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

October 13: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Burn Care Professionals Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 13: Central Coast Fire Chief’s Burn Relay, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 14: Colma Bocce Ball Tournament, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 15: (5:30pm – 10:00pm) 50th Anniversary Celebration in Southern California

October 15: Albany FD Pancake Breakfast, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 18: (6:00pm – 7:30pm), Spanish-Speaking Online Burn Survivor Support Group, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at 415-495-7223 Ext. 18 or to receive log-in information.

October 20: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Statewide Support Group – Online, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

October 26: Alameda County Firefighter ALCO Masters Golf Tournament, contact Katie Szymczak at for more information.

October 27: (11:30am – 1:00pm), Saint Francis Online Support Group, contact Scott “Scooter” Wertz at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 19 to receive log-in information.

October 27: (7:00pm – 8:30pm), Art Expression, contact Daniel “Apollo” Chacon at or 415-495-7223 Ext. 18.

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