Blaine High School club sends quilt to injured firefighter

Quilt_SG-1By Steve Guntli

A club at Blaine High School is banding together to send a little comfort to a badly injured firefighter.

The students are part of a campus group called SWAP, or Students With A Purpose. The group spearheads several community outreach and charity programs, everything from sending welcome cards to new members in the district to gathering food donations for the Blaine Food Bank. This time, the group has decided to send a quilt inscribed with inspirational messages to injured firefighter Daniel Lyon.

On August 19, Lyon, 25, a firefighter from the Methow Valley, was badly injured battling a fire near Twisp, which eventually merged with the massive Okanogan Complex wildfire. Lyon was in a fire engine with three other firefighters when the vehicle was swallowed by a fast-moving blaze. Lyon was the only person to escape the fire, and was left with severe burns over 60 percent of his body.

After eight painful surgeries, Lyon is on the road to recovery, but he still has a long way to go. He is currently in Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Senior Paulina Nunez, one of the SWAP leaders, said North Whatcom Fire and Rescue firefighter Leslee Smith brought the idea to the group.

“Leslee suggested the idea, and we all really liked it,” she said. “We knew a lot of firefighters were injured this summer, and we wanted to do something to show we were thinking about them.”

The group spent a day signing and writing messages on the quilt, which Ann Abrams and Carolyn Fakkema later stitched together. Senior Supreet Hari said the students tried to focus on positive messages.

“We tried to write things that were inspirational or motivational,” she said. “Happy thoughts, basically.”

Lyon’s parents were scheduled to come up to Blaine to receive the quilt, but decided to stay near the hospital to keep an eye on their son’s progress. Instead, the club thought of a clever workaround: they’re going to film a video of the club handing over the quilt, then edit it in with footage of the family receiving it in Seattle. The finished video will be shown during a student assembly.

For their next project, Nunez said the club is thinking about starting a Giving Tree charity at the high school to benefit underprivileged families.

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