Firefighters bringing smiles to children's hospital patients

Firefighters bringing smiles to children's hospital patients

The firefighters at Pensacola Station 6 have added a regular run to their duties. They're close to a hospital and decided to be good neighbors and go for visits.

It was after a run they'd made to children's hospital one night when Lt. Brian Thomann and Lt. Darrell McClammy came up with the idea to bring the fire station to the hospital; more specifically, to the children, on a regular basis. They took their proposal to the chief and got the OK.

Lt. Gary Creel, public information officer for the Pensacola Fire Department, said it was an easy decision.

"We realize that these children don't have the opportunity to get out like a lot of other children to see our trucks and our equipment and learn about what firefighters do," said Creel. "So, it's a great opportunity to bring it in and spread a little cheer to the children."

The two men committed to planning the outings, but it would also take the support of their fellow crew members to actually make it happen. The visits needed to have meaning and bring some smiles.

Thomann said that turned out to be easy too.

"A lot of the people that are here today are guys that, young 20's. Most of them don't even have kids of their own, but to see them get to come and spend time with the kids, interact with them, makes it worthwhile," said Thomann.

These visits from Station 6 break the routine of sometimes difficult hospital stays. The crew doesn't miss this chance to also bring their lifesaving messages to a captive audience.

These guys are already heroes to little Lillian. Firefighters were her first responders when she was rushed to the hospital for the first time a year ago.

Mom, Kasie Phillips, is as excited about the visits as Lillian.

"She really loves fire engines," said Kasie. "She loves the sirens. Every time she hears them, she goes, 'Oh, my God, what's that, what's that.' And we're like, 'Fire trucks, sweetie.' So, this opportunity to actually come down and see the firemen and to go into the truck, was phenomenal."

When the truck pulls away, Thomann said it's the smiles they leave behind that keep them coming back; knowing that for just a little while, they brought some joy to a child's life.

"We feel thankful for, those of us who have kids, for the health that they have. And it's good to get a perspective," said Thomann.

Angels In Our Midst is sponsored by the Studer Family Children's Hospital at Sacred Heart.

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