Distinguished Alumni, Chief Roberts & Fire Science Major, Lt. Stratton Volunteer at The Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp
Last week’s hot and humid weather didn’t keep fire science alum (’91), Chief J. Michael Roberts of the Millburn Fire Department and fire science major, Lt. Andrew Stratton of the Cranford Fire Department from enriching the lives of 76 special young adults, adolescents and children at the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp in Union Ct. Arriving at the camp on Saturday, July 16th, Mike and Andy worked along with fellow firefighters and fire officers, nurses, and medical personnel from across the east coast to prepare the facility for its incoming campers. The hope of all involved was to create a very positive, interesting and exciting experience for this very special group of humans, all of which have survived life-changing burn injuries.
Working at the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn Camp has been an essential
component of Chief Roberts’ summer for the past seven years, and Lt. Stratton’s since 2006. Roberts and Stratton both became involved in the camp through the NJ State Firefighters Mutual Benevolent Association (NJFMBA). Chief Roberts was inspired by the compassionate words of NJFMBA President and long-term camp counselor, Bill Lavin of the Elizabeth Fire Department, while Lt. Stratton was moved by a touching letter published in the
Chief Roberts has enjoyed working with the campers over these past years. “I feel I get more out of camp then the kids do. I see such positive resilience in these kids; they let nothing stand in their way. They are an inspiration to all the counselors!” Lt. Stratton also spoke of similar sentiments stating that, “The experience is hard to explain, it’s very unique. It definitely re-boots your perspective… you don’t have a problem in the world that compares to what these children have had to deal with and overcome”.
The camp receives its funding from the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation. A large contributor to this Foundation is the Atlantic Regional Firefighter Burn Foundation. Not only does the Atlantic Regional Firefighter Burn Foundation support the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation, but they also seek out individual sponsors to directly support the activities at the camp. A portion of the funds from the Connecticut Burns Care Foundation enables the children to attend the Arthur C. Luf Children’s Burn camp at no charge. Most of the children come from areas along the U.S. east coast; however, many others come from such distant regions as Russia and Nicaragua. Besides arts and crafts, swimming and your everyday camp activities, this year the children were able to; go up in a hot air balloon, cruise on a schooner, and play a game of paintball.
Burn Camp is a special place for these children. It gives them the opportunity to express themselves and to just be kids. For the volunteers, it is also an extraordinary experience; one which touches each individual uniquely and in a very positive way.