Sick children and their families at the Ronald McDonald House of Baltimore had a special holiday visit from the Baltimore City Fire Department on Monday, December 17, 2012.
Fire Chief James S. Clack and members of the department brought toys and official fireman hats and gear for the kids as part of a month long celebration designed to bring the spirit of the holidays to children and families who need an extra smile this holiday season. The night also included a talk on fire safety and a tour of a real fire truck— with lights flashing.
The Ronald McDonald House Charities of Baltimore provides a home away from home for seriously ill children and their families being treated in Baltimore area hospitals. It has helped over 30,000 families from Maryland and around the world since it opened in 1982.
Executive Director Sandy Pagnotti appreciates the fire department’s involvement in bringing Christmas cheer to the young residents of the Ronald McDonald House. “The firefighters are our heroes and the children who are here fighting these devastating diseases are also our heroes. So our two heroes come together for the holidays and it’s a magical night, and we are so grateful full to them,” Pagnotti said.
Michael Hineline, Special Events coordinator for the Baltimore City Fire Department, said the department enjoys being part of the joy of the season. “We encounter people and even children at the worst of times in the past, and this gives us an opportunity to meet with children and their families where its more of a festive and joyous atmosphere, and its rewarding to us,” he said.
Hineline reflected that helping people is an essential part of the job, “We in the fire department are truly public servants, and you don't get into this job for the money or glory, it’s because people really care and that's our mission— Pride Protecting People.”
Tawana Collins, whose daughter Katelyn has been at the Ronald McDonald house for a month and a half, said the holiday event and her overall experience with the nonprofit has been great. “This is awesome, just meeting the families and being able to talk with each other about your child's problems. They have people that volunteer to cook for you, and you don't have to worry about being stressed out about going to the grocery store with a wheel chair.”