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MASON CITY, IA – A group of young burn victims pay Mason City’s Fire Department a visit on their way to a very special camp.
Like all the 50 kids stopping by Mason City fire during this visit, Landon Conard is living with scars.
“Theres other people who got burned like me, everybody can,” said Conard.
He’s a member of the “Saint Florian Foundation”, a group that helps young burn victims and he’s sharing his story of the day he was electrocuted by a power line.
“I was in Iowa for about 6 and a half weeks and I had to stay in a wheelchair for a while, but not that long,” said Conard, describing his time at the University of Iowa’s Burn Unit Center.
The kids are on their way to the “Miracle Burn Camp” at Lake Okoboji, but first, as they do every year. They’re making a brief stop at the Mason City Fire Department.
It’s a visit the firefighters say they will never forget.
“Having the campers here is just a great opportunity to just interact with these kids that have been affected by burn injuries,” said Aaron Beemer, Mason City Firefighter.
Firefighters like Aaron Beemer say it’s being able to meet these kids years later that keeps him coming back.
“This gives us a chance to really talk to these kids, see what their lives are like many years after and just realize they are just normal kids. They’re excited about going to camp and having fun and they just want to chat with people who have a little experience in what they’ve been through,” said Beemer.
The Miracle Burn Camp is designed to help integrate burn victims with those who are non-burned as a way to build relationships and have fun.
“They get to experience camp just like any other kid would and then those kids that are non-burned also get to experience what kids who have been burned, they get to see that they can do everything just like they would,” said Lisa Mackey, Camp Counselor with Miracle Burn Camp.
While fire trucks are exciting, these kids are looking forward to what waits for them at camp.
“It’s a good place for other kids to interact who’ve had burned injuries and I just think it’s a really cool thing for kids to be able to see what other kids went through as well,” said camper, Alivea Carnahan.
The program is now nearing 20 years of serving burn victims.