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Joshua Thomas
A group of kids gathered Sunday morning at Victorious Life Church, Fort Plain, to create get-well cards for Dennis Abare, Jr.

Joshua Thomas
Sheila Hearn watches as her granddaughter, Isabella, creates a card for Dennis Abare, Jr.

Joshua Thomas
Thomas Cavanaugh adds glitter to his card.

Joshua Thomas
Fort Plain Fire Department Member Mike Higgins provides fire safety tips.


Kids create get-well cards for Dennis Abare, Jr.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014 - Updated: 9:12 AM


C-S-E Editor

FORT PLAIN -- On Sunday morning, children of the community came together at Victorious Life Church, Fort Plain, to create get-well cards for Dennis Abare, Jr., the 8-year-old recently injured in a devastating Center St. fire.

"We filled every seat," with kids using markers, glitter and construction paper to create get-well wishes for Dennis, said Event Organizer Janel Hearn, who sprang to action as soon as she was made aware of Abare's story with the goal of letting him know that people are thinking of him.

Hearn noted that herself, her husband and two friends will travel to SUNY Upstate, Syracuse, on Friday to deliver the cards to Abare, who Hearn said she was looking forward to meeting.

Hearn's kids, Conner and Isabella, nursery school students of Little Friends, Canajoharie, also made cards with 12 classmates, which will be delivered along with Sunday's creations.

A Fort Plain fireman, Mike Higgins, was also present Sunday morning, providing fire safety tips, also handing out educational items, including plastic fire hats and a bag containing educational coloring books, crayons and a ribbon.

"The number one thing," Higgins told kids, "is 'don't play with matches.'"

He continued, "don't play with lighters, don't play with gasoline -- it's not fun."

Higgins also noted that should fire strike, children should remain in the middle of the room instead of hiding under the bed or in the closet, as it makes them easier for firemen to locate. 

"We will find you, and we're gonna get you out as soon as we can," Higgins assured the kids.

The event also provided the opportunity for children to familiarize themselves with a firefighters' uniform, which, when topped with a mask (which Higgins said keeps the fireman from speaking), which may seem terrifying to kids in a panicked situation. 

Higgins also explained that while many people think that firefighters don't feel emotions, he said the opposite is true, as many of them have children of their own. "It's horrifying and terrible," he said of what happened to Dennis, adding, "and we don't like to see children hurt at all."

In his six years with the Fort Plain Fire Department, Higgins said that he's seen about 25 kids injured, some having started the blaze by playing with matches or flammable material, the rest living in properties that caught fire.

"It's very important to get the kids educated," Higgins said, explaining that the Fort Plain Fire Department seeks such events to use as educational opportunities.

Joshua Thomas - Rylee Stone shows off the card she made for Dennis Abare, Jr.


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