December 20, 2023

Rankin County fire service, donors deliver Christmas joy to Baptist Burn Center

Therese Apel

An 8x10 enclosed trailer full of toys was dropped off at Baptist Burn Center Tuesday by Rankin County EOC and Volunteer Firefighters. The following people were on hand to help unload the toys: L to R: Alex Steen (Langford FD), Robert Sutton (MBMC Burn Center), Dr. Jasmine Sandhu (MBMC Pediatric Hospital), Tara Evans (MBMC Burn Center), Brett Ishee (Rankin County Fire Coordinator), JR Price (Baptist Security), Hunter Squires (Rankin EOC), Lance Cooper (Rankin EOC), Sonya Jones (Partridge Propane), Will Roberts (Partridge Propane), Obediah Curtis (Baptist Facilities), David Battaly (Langford FD), Larkale Jackson (MBMC Burn Center), James McGowan (Baptist Security), Therese Apel (Langford FD, Darkhorse Press)

On Tuesday, an 8×10 enclosed trailer rolled up to the front of the Burn Center at Mississippi Burn, Hand, and Reconstruction Center at Baptist Hospital, and it was loaded down like Santa’s sleigh.

Firefighters from departments all over the county collected toys until Dec. 14, and funds were donated by State Rep. Gene Newman, Mac Haik of Flowood, and Partridge Propane to make sure there is Christmas joy for all the Burn Center’s patients.

As soon as the trailer rolled in, employees of Baptist were there to help unload the toys and get them to the children. Burns are particularly painful, and having something to focus on can give a burn victim hope and something to focus on, so the employees of EOC made sure there was a toy that suited every type of child, picking up everything from Barbies to Care Bears to Play Doh and action figures during a wild shopping trip to WalMart on Monday.

“There is nothing better than giving back to the community, especially children, when they are in a time of need,” said Rankin County Fire Coordinator Brett Ishee. “When children are involved in a house fire it’s a life changing event, and most of the time everything they had is lost. The burns can be painful and devastating, so if a toy can bring them a little piece of comfort and joy, it’s worth it.”

“We owe a big thanks to Partridge Propane, Mac Haik of Flowood, Representative Gene Newman, Darkhorse Press, Rankin County EOC, Lanford Volunteer Fire Department and the Rankin County Fire Service for donating toys for our pediatric burn patients. We especially want to thank Brett Ishee with Rankin EOC who led the efforts for a toy drive,” said Burn Center Director Tara Evans. “When a child arrives with a burn injury, they are scared and don’t always understand what’s going to happen. So, our team gives each patient a toy to help establish a level of comfort. That comfort along with the care our team provides quickly turns into trust, not only for our young patient but with their family as well. The people of Rankin County showed our team how dedicated they are and the support they have for what we do here. We cannot express how grateful we, and our pediatric burn patients, are for the donations.”

Partridge Propane General Manager Will Roberts and Director of Branch Management Sonya Jones were on hand to help unload the loot on Tuesday.

“Partridge Propane is proud to be able to partner with Rankin County Fire Services to help with their Toy Drive for the Burn Center at Baptist Medical Center. It is my hope and prayer that these toys bring some sense of normalcy, joy and comfort to the young resilient patients as they navigate through their treatment and recovery,” Roberts said. “Myself and all employees of Partridge Propane wish the patients, family, medical staff of Baptist Burn Center a Merry Christmas with courage and brighter days ahead.”

Ishee says this is just the first of what he hopes to make an annual toy drive by the fire service for Baptist.

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