Lieutenant Jay Taylor holding one of the boots that will be used for collecting donations.

Lieutenant Jay Taylor holding one of the boots that will be used for collecting donations.

TIFTON — Tift County Fire/Rescue is partnering with the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation to give burns the boot from May 16-18.

The 30th annual “Give Burns the Boot” drive raises funds for the GFBF, a non-profit organization that works with the fire service and burn care community to provide fire safety and prevention education, support medical facilities, and assist burn survivors in their recovery.  One way in which they assist burn survivors is Camp Oo-U-La, Georgia’s only camp held exclusively for burn-injured children.

TCFR Battalion Chief Nathan Huffmaster is organizing the drive in Tift County.

“The main function for the boot drive is for us to send children that’s been affected by fire and burned to a summer camp,” he said. “This is a camp that has nothing but other burn victims in it, so they get to be themselves around other people with similar injuries.”

He said that the children, including some from the region, are able to attend the camp at no cost to them, thanks to the boot drive.

“I plan on trying to attend the camp this year,” he said. “Firefighters get to volunteer and go work the camp as counselors.”

Any funds raised after the children are sent to the camp goes to the burn centers around the state, according to Huffmaster.

“Burns are some of the most painful injuries that occur, especially if you survive it,” he said. “There are three different levels of burns. Your first-degree is like a good sunburn. It’s very painful because it affects the nerve endings in the epidural layer of your skin. Then you have second-degree burns, which are the most painful. That’s where you have blisters and some charring of the skin. Third degree is the worst but it’s not as painful because it actually burns your nerve endings and kills all the sensation. But that skin is now dead and they have to do grafts and things.”

Huffmaster said that burn victims need specialized care, not because of the actual injury, but because of the infection that follows. Burn victims are more susceptible to infection and the body has a difficult time regulating body temperature.

The only burn centers are the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta and the Grady Burn Center in Atlanta.

Huffmaster said that this is TCFR’s second year participating in the state-wide effort and that he was very proud of the funds TCFR raised last year.

“In our first year we got 31st place in the whole state,” he said. “We raised a little over $3,800. My goal this year is to get $5,000.”

TCFR volunteers will be collecting donations at Walmart, located at 1830 US 82, Walmart Neighborhood Market, located at 1810 N. Tift Ave and at Harvey’s Supermarket, located at 2201 US Hwy 41 N.

For more information contact Huffmaster at 229-520-1009.

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