By all accounts, the first annual Firefighters for Healing Red Tie Gala was a huge success! More than 400 attendees showed up on Saturday November 7, 2015, at the Exchange Club in the historic Lumber Exchange Building in downtown Minneapolis, Minnesota, dressed in their finest suit and red tie or beautiful red dress. The event raised more than $100,000 through ticket sales, a silent auction, a live auction, and other donations for burn survivors and their families to aid in their recovery efforts. The evening featured red carpet photos, color guard presentation of the flag and national anthem sung by former NFL player, Esera Tuaolo. Firefighters for Healing is a non-profit organization founded in 2010 by Minneapolis firefighter, Jake Laferriere. Jake experienced firsthand what burn victims have to go through. In 2010 Jake suffered 3rd and 4th degree burns to his hands and arms in a backdraft explosion while battling a house fire. While at the hospital being treated for his burns, Jake met several young children who were going through the same painful recovery process that he was experiencing himself. Jake wanted to help these children, so he founded Firefighters for Healing to support children and burn victims in ways that insurance companies and caretakers are unable to. Firefighters for Healing is a 100% volunteer non-profit organization, so every penny of the funds raised go directly to help burn survivors. Those funds are used to replace essential daily living necessities lost in a fire, provide financial assistance for surgeries, support summer camp attendance for young burn victims, donate to local hospital burn units, and more. See Jake and Firefighters for Healing in action:
In September, Jake was honored with the “The Red Bandanna Hero Award,” which was created by the American Heroes Channel and The Welles Remy Crowther Charitable Trust to honor everyday heroes. The award was inspired by Welles Remy Crowther, also known as “The Man in the Red Bandanna,” who saved several people and lost his own life following the attacks on the World Trade Center on 9/11. Jeff and Alison Crowther, parents of Welles, attended the Red Tie Gala as the guests of honor. They both spoke of their son, his sacrifice, and his dream of being a firefighter. They also discussed the work that Jake and Firefighters for Healing are doing within the Minnesota communities.
This award garnered overwhelming media attention and Jake has been interviewed and featured in USA Today, the American Hero Channel & Fox and Friends. Take a moment to watch this interview with Fox News' Elisabeth Hasselbeck and Brian Kilmeade.