Firefighters deliver gifts to burn victims at Hennepin Healthcare

The Minneapolis-based nonprofit Firefighters for Healing helped spread some holiday cheer by delivering gifts to burn victims on Thursday. 

Firefighters and volunteers spent the day giving out gifts to patients at Hennepin Healthcare Burn Center. Staff in the burn center also received meals from Firefighters for Healing. 

"This annual tradition of bringing gifts to the Burn Center patients started the year I was a patient in 2010," former Minneapolis firefighter and burn patient Jake LaFerriere said in a statement. 

"My world changed overnight when I survived a backdraft explosion. Those who helped me through the darkest days were my family, close friends, the nurses and fire community. The first Christmas Blessing in 2010 was my way to thank the nurses and Burn Center teams for all they do. It was a blessing to me to be able to pay it forward. I wanted to provide the burn survivors and their families with a reason to smile and feel joy. It truly aligns with the reason for the season and helps families know they are not alone," continued LaFerriere, the founder and executive director of Firefighters For Healing. 

Firefighters loaded up four fire trucks full of gifts and delivered them to 17 patients and their families in the burn center. 

Firefighters for Healing has been delivering gifts to burn victims for 12 years. The nonprofit provides emergency housing and other services for families of burn victims and firefighters being treated at the Hennepin Healthcare Burn Center and other Twin Cities hospitals. Its Transitional Healing Center has 12 suites for families to stay in, according to the press release. 

"It just shows not just the patient but the family members of patients that there are people here for you," said Jon Gayken, a burn surgeon at Hennepin Healthcare.