(Brevard County, FL)- Brevard County Fire Rescue (BCFR) Firefighter/Paramedic Andrea Ziarno has been selected to serve as a counselor at the International Association of Fire Firefighters (IAFF) Burn Foundation’s International Burn Camp in Washington, D.C. Each year, the Foundation selects burn survivors, aged 13-15, and professional firefighters/camp counselors from regional burn camps across the United States and Canada to attend the weeklong event. This year’s camp takes place during the week of September 24-October 1.
Ziarno has been a member of BCFR for 13 years and for the past four years has volunteered as a camp counselor at two regional burn camps in Florida, Camp Amigo in Port St. Joe and Camp Tequesta in Umatilla. The camps are non-profit organizations where children who have experienced severe burns can come to have fun and be around others who have had similar experiences.
“Burn camps offer children who have suffered life-altering tragedies a place to go and be a kid,” said Ziarno. “They are able to be around others who can identify with what they have gone through and have similar emotional and physical scars.”
Camp attendees are paired with a like-gender counselor who is often a firefighter, nurse, or physical therapist. Relationships forged at the camp often develop into lifelong friendships.
A selection committee of six volunteers from Camp Amigo chose Ziarno to attend the International Burn Camp from a number of potential counselors this year.
“Andrea has shown a long-term commitment to Camp Amigo and a tremendous passion for the work we do,” said Camp Amigo President Rusty Roberts. “She will be a wonderful ambassador for our camp, her department, and the State of Florida.”
Despite the praise from Roberts and other counselors, Ziarno remains humble and prefers the focus be put toward the camps and the services they provide.
“Being burned is not a one-time event for these kids, their lives have been changed forever” she said. “The experience of working with these survivors has changed my life too.”