Thursday, May 2, 2013

Special Day of Remembrance

A special post from our Mom, Firefighter Dayna:

Ten years ago today, I adopted Sparkles, who later went on to become my best friend and my partner in helping keep children safe.

Sparkles was rescued from a home with 62 other dogs and when she came to live with my family, it was a blessing for both of us. Little did I know that my life would change that day and that we would have so many amazing experiences, including helping share fire safety on PBS KIDS Sprout and  FOX and Friends, attending a Congressional briefing, and having our picture displayed on Times Square on a jumbotron. More importantly, it was about the children, as Sparkles loved helping firefighters save the lives of those most at risk from fire: children. She was a true ambassador for the fire service.

Sparkles went on to help save the lives of 7 children and 2 adults ( and she LOVED children.

I'll never forget one day that we went to Clarksville Primary School. When we got out of the truck, Sparkles ran to the front door. She couldn't wait to see the children! It brought joy to my heart.

I also remember the day that Angelica, then age 5, who knew what to do in an actual fire-related situation and shared her experience:

"Firefighter Dayna~ I was in bed under the 'cobers' and the smoke came. I crawled out of bed and crawled low, just like Sparkles [the Fire Safety Dog] showed me to. I said, 'C'mon daddy, you have to get on the floor and crawl low like Sparkles."

By this time, her dad was disoriented because he had been standing in the smoke filled room. Thankfully, he was able to follow Angelica out of the house. The firefighters later shared with me that Angelica's father followed her out of the home and they said that as soon as he reached the door, the firefighters scooped him up and took him to the hospital (where he spent 7 days~ 4 in ICU). Immediately after they carried him away from the front door, the firefighters stated that the home flashed over (a "flashover" is where the home totally becomes engulfed in flames). A video of the story of Sparkles' lifesaving efforts and hear more about this incredible story HERE.

Sparkles went to the Rainbow Bridge in October 2010 and there is not a day that goes by that I don't miss Sparkles. Words can not even begin to express what a special dog Sparkles was, and how much she loved children and helping her fire department teach fire safety.

Sparkles is forever memorialized at the National Emergency Training Center on the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation's Walk of Honor (Section 27). Her memorial service can be seen HERE.  

Please help support the work of the foundation by donating to Sparkles' Pathway. Your donation will help support the work of the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation and their mission to support the families of fallen firefighters.

When donating, please tell them that the donation is for Sparkles' Pathway. You can memorialize your pet, honor a loved one, or leave a special message on Sparkles' Pathway on a brick or for a special centerpiece for the walkway that will include a picture of Sparkles.

Contact Judi Whitlow at the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation at 301-447-7913 to learn more.

You can read more about Sparkles' amazing journey at:

I miss you, Sparkles, and I love you. You will forever be in my heart and in my soul. And I am so proud of you, Tango, Siren and Molly, for helping keep Sparkles' memory alive and helping save lives.

I'm proud of you, Tango, Siren and Molly, for helping carry on Sparkles' legacy and her mission of helping keep children safe.

Firefighter Dayna

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