Stories of Involvement

Just as every burn survivor has a unique story to share, so too do volunteers and supporters of the Phoenix Society have many stories. Our community is rich with connections and compassion as people get back to living after a burn injury. These are just some of the stories of others who have connected, shared their compassion, and made a real difference in the burn community.

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Need more reasons to get involved?  View our impact by the numbers.


After 40 Years, Jeff Gallinat Finds Support

When he was only 19, Jeff suffered burns to over 50% of his body in an accident at work. He faced a long, hard recovery without the support of another burn survivor. There was no one in his life who could truly relate to the difficulties, confusion, and concerns of the lengthy healing process.

Almost 40 years later, when Jeff recalls those early years after his burn, his first focus is on the good: great care, encouragement of family and friends, and how his injury led him to the “guardian angel” he now calls his wife.

Jeff doesn’t dwell on what he didn’t have. However, he recognizes that something was missing. Last year when he was introduced to the Phoenix Society, he began to understand exactly what that was. “I needed [the support of a community like this] for my emotional needs,” he reminisced. “I could have healed much more quickly [with a place] like the Phoenix Society to lean on.”

Jeff found no regrets in that realization. Rather, he recognized an opportunity for good, and he took it. “It is my hope to help support [survivors] who are alone right now. I want to [do that by] supporting the great team and mission at the Phoenix Society.”

Jeff quickly developed a passion for spreading awareness and support to more survivors through expanded technology solutions. Professionally, as Senior Vice President of Global Manufacturing Operations at Cisco, he champions the company’s partnership with the Phoenix Society.

Personally, he has become a faithful donor and volunteer committed to giving back to his new community. Through his involvement with the Phoenix Society, Jeff has discovered more of the good in life after a burn injury. Now he is doing all he can to share that good—and the hope that comes with it—with survivors everywhere.

Tyco Partnership - Engages Employees, Empowers Survivors

A familiar Phoenix Society partner may be instrumental in bringing in hundreds of new faces to the Phoenix World Burn Congress 2016. In its seventh consecutive year as an event sponsor, Tyco is hoping the proximity of the conference to several of its corporate locations will draw in a record number of employee volunteers.

“This is our chance to have an overwhelming presence and to really grow support for the Phoenix Society,” states Jim Maymon, District General Manager at Tyco SimplexGrinnell.

Tyco’s passion for supporting burn survivors and their families is a natural extension of its work as an international leader in fire protection and life safety. Leading up to the Phoenix World Burn Congress, the company is organizing activities to increase employee engagement, including its third annual Team Phoenix fundraising run and new Lunch & Learn sessions where employees can meet and hear the inspiring stories of burn survivors and Phoenix Society advocates.

“Together, Phoenix Society and Tyco are making a real impact on real lives,” said Maymon. “We want more of our employees to share in that experience.”


Jim Maymon - Corporate Impact Turns Personal

Tyco SimplexGrinnell is an ongoing supporter of the Phoenix Society.  In 2013, several employees volunteered at Phoenix World Burn Congress. Many found the experience life-changing - and came away from that experience with a desire to do more.

“When I volunteered at Phoenix  WBC it was one of the most  moving experiences of my life,” says Jim Maymon, District General Manager. Inspired by the people he met and the Phoenix Society’s commitment to make life better for burn survivors, Jim wanted to get more involved. He took that desire, combined it with his passion for running, and created a Team Phoenix team made up largely of Tyco SimplexGrinnell employees from Boston and surrounding districts. Jim has recruited walkers and runners—everyday athletes interested in making a difference while they improve their personal health.

Since 2014, they have raised nearly $28,000 for the Phoenix Society—and their team is planning to grow each year!

For Jim and so many others Team Phoenix has been a great way to make an impact. Whether your passion is running, walking, biking, canoeing, or any other activity, join Team Phoenix and make a difference while you do it!

Learn more about how you can participate with Team Phoenix.


Duane and Bernadette - Leaving a Legacy

The Phoenix Society is honored to have 38 Legacy Society members. Duane Wright and Bernadette Martinez, who are enthusiastic about the ability to sustain the future of support and healing for burn survivors, explain, “As a couple involved with the burn community, both professionally and personally, we have appreciated the far-reaching impact that the Phoenix Society has had on our lives and the lives of many of our closet friends. To know that we will help sustain the Phoenix Society for future generations (in our memory) offers us both a great deal of purpose and comfort.“

Duane and Bernadette are long-time committed volunteers for the Phoenix Society, striving to make the lives of survivors and families better.

The Phoenix Society changes lives. Through your participation as a Legacy Society member, the Phoenix Society will be able to continue its life-transforming services for generations to come.

What will your philanthropic legacy be? Will you join us?


Meredith Balgley - Shares why Regular Gifts Make a Difference

One of the first donors in our monthly giving program shares why regular gifts make a special difference.

Meredith Balgley found the Phoenix Society like so many do:  through a personal experience with a burn injury.  When she survived a burn in the mid-1960s, she says she didn’t have support in the hospital or after in her recovery. "I felt very isolated. Now that I know how important it is, I want to help.”

Meredith is helping in many ways, including becoming one of the first to join our monthly giving program. “I know how important steady support is to the Phoenix Society,” she says. “My gift has a greater impact when the organization can rely on it throughout the year. It lets the Phoenix Society focus on what matters most: helping burn survivors through their journeys.”

Meredith hopes the Phoenix Society continues to reach more people. “A burn injury is one of those things you think you’ll never go through. When it happens to you, you quickly realize how important support is. I give to the Phoenix Society because I want other burn survivors to have support when they will need it most.”


Jennifer Cash, RN - Treating the Injury, Healing the Whole Person

Doctors, nurses, and support staff of burn centers are some of the closest partners of the Phoenix Society. Not only are they some of the first people to care for an individual’s burn injury, but how they approach burn care can set in motion the rest of a survivor’s journey to healing.  

As we often say in the burn community: survival is not enough. Jennifer Cash, RN, has  witnessed this firsthand as Burn Program Manager at the UC Irvine Regional Burn Center. 

“The hardest work begins when burn survivors leave us,” she says. “Actual survival is much more complex than being pushed out of the burn ICU in a wheelchair. It is in the days, weeks and years that follow that the battle to regain life is truly waged.”

Jennifer credits the Phoenix Society’s programs and supportive community with meeting her patients at every step in that lifelong journey. “As burn professionals, we do our best to promote healing: physically, emotionally and socially. There are many ways to contribute to the healing process – but none more effective, in my opinion, than with people. The Phoenix Society has created the formula for people healing people.” 

“It comforts me to know that my patients have access to these resources and people who truly care as much as I do.”