Sanford firefighters deliver toys to burn center

Posted December 19, 2008 4:13 p.m. EST
Updated December 19, 2008 11:09 p.m. EST

— The City of Sanford’s Fire Department and the Lee County Burned Children’s Fund teamed up on Friday to deliver new toys to children at the N.C. Jaycee Burn Center.

The annual event has been held since 1996.

“I bring firemen up here each year, and I tell them before they come up here, ‘if you want to put some water on your cheeks it’s OK, because you’re going to cry before you leave, I promise you,’” Sanford Fire Chief David Nance said.

About 25 percent of the patients admitted to the burn center are children, according to the center’s Web site.

“It means the world to them. It means the world to us because what it means is that we’re all working together to help people get through this,” Jaycee Burn Center’s Dr. Bruce Cairns said.

Most of the toys were donated by citizens in Lee County, but a few were handmade by James Annis, who makes toys as a hobby.

Annis, who isn’t a firefighter, heard about the program two years ago.

“I just enjoy helping them out,” Annis said.

It can take up to a month for him to make a wooden train set, but Annis said it is worth it.

“When I see the kids smile, that’s my pay,” Annis said.

Annis said he makes about 200 toys to give away every year. He gives 25 to 50 toys to the burn center and donates the rest to either The Salvation Army or soldiers overseas.