The Connecticut Burns Care Foundation was conceived by the visions of Dr. Andrew J. Panettieri, Chief of Surgery at Bridgeport Hospital and Bridgeport Firefighter Arthur C. Luf in 1978.
At that time, Dr. Panettieri sought support for establishing a burn center at Bridgeport Hospital, and community minded firefighter Art Luf was raising funds to help burn survivors. The two became great friends and followed their dreams to create a charitable organization that provided funding for equipment and facilities, helped educate the community on fire safety and fire prevention, supported training of professionals on the latest techniques in care and treatment of burn patients, and funded research projects. A Board of Directors who volunteered their time and expertise was formed to promote this worthwhile cause.
After Dr. Panettieri retired to Florida, he was recognized for his achievements by the Board of Trustees of Bridgeport Hospital who graciously named the Burn Center after him and his wife: the Dr. Andrew J. and Henrietta Panettieri Burn Center.
Art Luf continued to lead the Foundation with dedicated determination. A new project was promulgated that received accolades from school officials and state officials. A burn education trailer with animated figures was created to help educate school children on fire safety and fire prevention. A wise old owl, nicknamed “Doc Burns”, told a compelling story to the children on how to be fire safe. The trailer and animated characters logged on many, many miles as it told its special story to young and old alike.
The Foundation Board and President Art Luf was not finished with their magic. Seeing the special needs that children burn survivors require in coping with their injuries and reintegrating in family life and community life, the Foundation Board, under the direction of its tireless leader, Art Luf, launched a new project that has changed the lives of many children burn survivors forever. The first ever Burn Camp in the Northeast was established in 1991 at Camp Hi-Rock/Bear Rock located in the foothills of the Berkshire Mountains at Mt. Washington, Massachusetts with 20 kids participating in a “camping experience of a lifetime”. Through the years, the program has grown in stature and significance. The Children’s Burn Camp, now located on 176 beautiful acres in Union, CT, accepts severely burned children between the ages of 8-18. All children attend free of charge and are the recipients of a very special program that combines the opportunity to build each child’s self-esteem and self-confidence through self-discovery with an unsurpassed camping experience that includes activities like fishing, archery, boating, swimming, hiking and a challenging ropes course.
What makes the Children’s Burn Camp unique from others is the special involvement of its volunteer staff comprised primarily of firefighters from fire departments throughout New England, New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Washington, D.C., and Victoria, British Columbia and also a medical team of professionals from leading Burn Centers in the Northeast, along with adult burn survivors, round out our camp staff. We now have between 50-70 campers each year that come to us from New England, New York, New Jersey, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland and Washington, D.C.. We also receive campers from international countries like Vietnam, Dominican Republic, Venezuela, Peru, Russia, Croatia and Puerto Rico.
The Connecticut Burns Foundation is always looking for new initiatives that will respond to the needs of burn survivors and help promote awareness on fire safety and fire prevention.