Hundreds Attend Phoenix Walk of Remembrance - Commemorating Losses and Advocating for Prevention

The burn survivor community united in a Walk of Remembrance at Phoenix World Burn Congress 2015 to honor those lost to burn injury and to raise awareness within our communities that burns are a leading cause of accidental death and injury.   Burn survivors and their loved ones, firefighters, burn care professionals, and members of the community joined the walk with pipe and drum, fire trucks and other apparatus provided by Indianapolis Fire Department escorting the parade.

Speakers at the ceremony included:

  • Mike Gatliff, Chaplain Indianapolis Fire Department
  • Ernest V. Malone, Chief of Indianapolis Fire Department
  • Dr. Rajiv Sood, Medical Director of Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health and Speedway Burn Center at Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health
  • Pam Elliott, Survivor, Phoenix Society Advocate
  • Ernest Grant RN, MSN, PhD (C), FAAN, Board Chair of National Fire Protection Association
  • Amy Acton, Survivor, Executive Director of Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors.

Together we are working to raise awareness and challenge the public to help us promote the need for quality burn care, prevent burn injuries and loss of life, and to improve the quality of life for survivors and their loved ones. 

Earnest Malone, Chief of Indianapolis Fire Department, welcomed the participants to Indianapolis.  He spoke to the unwavering commitment to protection and prevention by the Indianapolis Fire Department.  "As firefighters, the opportunity to connect on an individual level with burn survivors and those who continue to recover from burn injuries is an important reminder as to why we serve our community 24/7,”  he said. “’ We strongly believe it is 'Our Family Serving Your Family.'  It is more than just a job – it is personal."

Dr. Sood, Medical Director of Richard M. Fairbanks Burn Center at Eskenazi Health and Riley Hospital for Children spoke of the importance of emotional and physical recovery of burn patients.  He shared his support of the Phoenix Society's Phoenix SOAR program, and the importance of peer support in the hospitals to improve the patient's long-term recovery.  And he spoke to the need for continued improvements in burn care to ensure the best possible long-term outcomes.

Pam Elliot shared her story - from suffering 50% burns as a result of a house fire, to endeavoring to furthering her education and becoming an RN, to realizing the power of her voice as a survivor and telling her story to school children, electricians, city council members, and ultimately to representatives at the U.S. Capitol.  She poignantly describes her trepidation of speaking at the Capitol for her first time, and the words from her grandmother in her mind - that she was valuable, and her journey was for a purpose.  She reminded the audience that all of us are valuable and serve a purpose and encouraged the Congress attendees to participate - at whatever level they could best serve.

Ernest Grant, Board Chair of NFPA Talked about the importance of prevention and the continuing efforts of NFPA in collaboration with partners such as Phoenix Society to continue to make prevention efforts successful.  He spoke of the importance of the personal story of the survivor and the impact their stories made to prevention efforts, such as continued support of legislation that requires sprinklers in new construction of single-family homes. 

Amy Acton, Phoenix Society executive director inspired the crowd by saying, " I encourage you to participate in raising your voice - because nothing heals people like other people' - not because we say it, but because of all of you, coming together as a community and connecting for this healing experience. Burn survivors know all to well how important prevention is - and your voices make a powerful difference in creating real change."

Our special thanks to NFPA, Tyco, and Common Voices for supporting advocacy efforts and adding the survivor voice to fire prevention and protection.

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