Firefighters donate patch collection to girl with cancer
Mileena Painter, who is battling leukemia, will soon receive hundreds of patches that have been collected from all over the world
By FireRescue1 Staff
GREEN BAY, Wis. — Firefighters who have collected patches from all over the world are sending them to a girl battling leukemia for a little inspiration.
Captain Eric Johnson recalled collecting one of the patches while he was on active military duty in Germany.
"I walked into a fire station in Germany asking for a patch, and the guy didn't have any, and he took a uniform out of his locker and cut his sleeve off, and 'Here you go,’” he said.
Capt. Johnson said the collection grew from there and he and his colleagues now trade patches with other firefighters.
They now have over 400 patches from around the world, but will soon be handing them off to Mileena, whose father is a 41-year veteran firefighter.
"I'm hoping this will take her mind off of her medical problems for a little while," Capt. Johnson said.
Capt. Johnson stumbled upon Mileena’s story when she made local headlines for collecting fire patches as a project to keep her occupied while she rested at home.
"I just got to thinking, if we could make her day and bring a smile to her, make her feel a little better, then it's worth it," he said.
Mileena’s mother, Rachelle, said the support from the firefighters means a lot.
"Firefighters are like family," she said. "That they're praying for us has made an amazing difference for us, because without those prayers, we wouldn't be where we are."