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Students say thanks to firefighters with sweet treats
Work with Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation provides inspiration
Local high school students stop by Hall County Fire Services Station 7 on Tuesday afternoon with a cake in honor of Firefighter Appreciation Day. Ellie Forrester, a senior at North Hall, and KayLynn Samples, a senior at Chestatee High, have created a public relations program for the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation. From left are David Castillo, Kayla Dinkel, Forrester, Samples and firefighters Ryan Beasley and Matt Carney.

To say firefighters risk their lives every day they go to work is putting it lightly.

After working with the Georgia Firefighters Burn Foundation, a group of Hall County students decided the best way to thank firefighters for their risk was to bake them cake, 19 cakes in fact.

Students from Lanier Charter Career Academy’s Project Success, a program that prepares students with disabilities for careers in hospitality or the culinary arts, baked different-flavored cakes for the different stations in Hall County.

Four Hall County students delivered the cakes Tuesday afternoon.

The firefighters at Station 7 were appreciative.

“It think it is awesome that these young adults are using their time to show their appreciation to firefighters,” said Capt. Scott Cagle, Hall County fire marshal. “A pat on the back and a thank you goes a long way with us. Don’t get me wrong, the cake is a nice gesture but them sharing their time to say thanks means more.”

KayLynn Samples, a senior at Chestatee High School in Gainesville, and Ellie Forrester, a senior at North Hall High School, have spent the school year working to update the foundation’s public relations campaign.

David Castillo, a senior at North Hall, and Kayla Dinkel, a senior at Johnson High School, are also working to honor firefighters by raising money to send child burn victims to Camp Oo-U-La, a weeklong summer camp.

Castillo said the experience has been very rewarding and he’s glad to be able to help burn victims.

Samples and Forrester are both marketing interns at the Lake Lanier Convention and Visitors Bureau from the hospitality program at LCCA. Cagle asked the students to build an awareness campaign for the foundation.

“Part of that process has gotten them closer to understanding firefighters and (about) being a burn survivor,” said Rachel McClain, Workforce Development Coordinator at LCCA.

Forrester said the need for an awareness campaign became evident after conducting a survey to see how many local organizations knew about the foundation.

“They had no idea about the Georgia (Firefighters) Burn Foundation,” Forrester said. “Then we found out that 98 percent of businesses had no idea what the GFBF does. For the awareness campaign we created one brand image for the foundation and some educational pieces like a coloring book and a mascot. Now we’re working with them on social media.”

The students said they were glad for the opportunity to work on such a meaningful project and to gain real work experience in the process.

The foundation was formed in 1982 by a group of DeKalb County firefighters. Its aim is to help burn survivors in recovery and prevent others from experiencing a burn injury.