Newspaper Archive of
The Columbia Star
Columbia, South Carolina
January 22, 2004     The Columbia Star
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January 22, 2004

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30 "JANUARY 22. 2004 News THE COLUMBIA STAR Story and photos by N74FF Flying Fezzes ast year dur- ing the sum- mer months, boiling cooking grease was accidentally spilled on 13-year-old Sharon Yarborough and her morn, Brenda, burning them both. Brenda, who was more severely burned, needed immedi- ate medical treatment. The women first went to the Lexington Hospital, but the hospital was ill-equipped to handle them. The two were sent to a hospital in Augusta, Ga., but again the hospi- tal was unable to effec- tively help them. Brenda's boyfriend's step father, a Shriner, contacted Jim Hamilton, the manager of Owens Airport. Hamilton has been heavily involved with community projects and has led a program with the Jamil Temple Shriners in 1974. With Hamilton's advice, the Shriners purchased a repossessed twin engine, six Seater plane: Hamilton was able to raise $83,700 to bring the plane up to air wor- thiness. This special plane with a tail number of N74FF, short for the 1974 Flying Fezzes, is solely dedicated to tak- ing burned victims to Shriners' hospitals. Hamilton's hand-picked crew of seasoned pilots take turns giving their time, money, and energy to this cause. Hamilton's mercy pilots are cele- brating their 30th year of service to hundreds of people they've helped over the years. "To see these kids grow up makes me feel so good I was a part in helping them get better," Hamilton said. The Yarboroughs used the single-purpose plane for their initial treatments. They were again offered the chance to continue medical treatment with another flight to Cincinnati. This time Sharon was meas- ured for custom-fitted foot wraps without any cost. After a few group shots, Grady Pittman, the chosen pilot for this trip, with Hamilton as his co-pilot, warmed up the engines. At the invi- tation of Hamilton I joined the flight. After a nearly three-hour trip, fighting a strong headwind, we arrived at Lunkin Airport, just inside Cincinnati. Janie Horn, greeted us with open arms, and she gave Sharon a gii of a small, battery-operated radio. The group was then taken to the Shriners Hospital, where advanced, no-cost burn Sharon and Brenda Yarborough Shriners Hospitals for children in Cincinnati, OH care is offered children. After a much need- ed break and a lunch bought by the hospital, Sharon and her morn went into the treatment room. Louise Hoelker, director of public & com- munity relations gave us a tour. The hospital was very child friendly with murals and bright colors splashed over all the walls, doors, and entry- ways. The Shriners have a school for those patients in danger of getting behind in their regular school. The school is a very good way to help victims feel connected to their inter- rupted lives. The second floor was totally dedicated to the single task of research. There were special rooms for dental and backbone recon- struction and for grow- ing skin. The burn hos- pital doesn't look like a hospital, but more like a Bill Malone, Maynard Cusworth, Jim Hamilton, Durham Harrison, Dempsey and Grady Pittman. mall complete with video games, and toys to help victims reacquaint themselves to the every day tasks that are now difficult because of injuries. They have a lit- tle shopping store, a bar- ber shop, bookstores, and fun rooms. The Shriners Hospital, begun in 1922, will take any person in need up to 18 years old without any charge. Twenty-two Shriner Hospitals are strategi- cally placed around the US and have helped more than 700,000 chil- dren. In the burn wards, children with disfigured bodies were having their spirits mended by the smiling staff. Hoelker spoke of a ther- apist who had tears run- ning down his face while he moved damaged arms and legs during needed therapy. Dedication and care makes a place like this work. Even the chef brought smiles to every- one's faces. "I was just Katy Klassen custom fits every healing so amazed. The Shriners Hospital is so much dif- ferent than any other hospital I had ever been to. I'd give half my lot- tery winnings to the Shriners if I ever won," Brenda said. Atr Shm-on ...... treatment, we boarded the plane and with a strong tailwind were back in Columbia in just two hours. Shriners Hospital for Children, is not just for burn victims, Out of the 22 hospitals, four dedicated to burn treat- ments, other Shriner's hospitals also treat chil- dren that need orthopaedic spinal cord diseases of the loskeletal more gibility or tact htt] hq,org/ Writer's A personal Grady Pittman, who had all our his very capable during the You did a ful job, no strong the were, or how Jim poked you. Looking more like a mall filled with little shops than a hospital, the hospital's design is meant to help victims feel like they're more in the real world. Bookstore for children in the hos This apparatus trains patients to regain lost skills. Waiting room in the Shriners