Lake County sheriff shows support at Great Lakes Burn Camp fundraiser

Martin: 'It takes a lot of money to run the operation'

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin, pictured far left, joined many other police officers and public safety personnel for a fundraiser in support of the Great Lakes Burn Camp. (Courtesy photo)

Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin, pictured far left, joined many other police officers and public safety personnel for a fundraiser in support of the Great Lakes Burn Camp. (Courtesy photo)

With past experience as a firefighter, and currently serving on the Luther Fire Department, Lake County Sheriff Rich Martin knows the suffering fires can bring — whether losing one's home, or people receiving burn injuries.

Martin had an opportunity to reach out in support of the Great Lakes Burn Camp, near Kalamazoo, during a fundraiser and safety event on Sept. 10.

This year's fundraiser took place at the Gilmore Car Museum at Hickory Corners.

"Usually every year Great Lakes Burn Camp hosts kids who have been severely burned throughout the country," Martin said. "I first participated in the mid-90s, when I was on the Mattawan Fire Department. We would all meet at the National Kalamazoo Airport and the kids were escorted from the airport to the campground."

According to the Great Lakes Burn Camp website, the mission of the camp is to provide a "unique experience that promotes healing, self-esteem, confidence and general well-being for burn-injured children."

The camp is a volunteer organization whose goal is to provide "unconditional love and acceptance to all burn survivors," as well as create a safe place for campers to grow and bond with other burn survivors.

"This year I went down to the fundraiser and designated a guitar for the raffle. Other law enforcement, EMS, and public safety personnel take part in getting donations for the camp," Martin said. "All proceeds go toward training individuals involved in the burn camp. It takes a lot of money to run the operation."

The event involved a silent auction, bake sale, a dunk tank, demos, and taking in the sites of many public safety emergency vehicles on display. Attendees also got to place their name on a school bus, which firefighters cut into pieces the next day, Martin added.