FRESNO- When State Employed Fire Fighters Association (SEFFA) President and California Statewide Law Enforcement Association (CSLEA) Board Member Steve Bradley heard the need for blood to be donated in support of Fresno Fire Captain Pete Dern, he notified his fellow firefighters at Camp Roberts and then made the 90-minute drive from his home to participate in a blood drive in Fresno, April 3, 2015.
"That's what we do," said Bradley. "We, as firefighters, are brothers and sisters in one big, tight knit family. You don't have to ask us to step up to help, we just do. It's not a thought, it's an instinct, we just do it."
Joining Bradley at the American Ambulance Blood Drive In Support of Captain Peter Dern was CSLEA Member and Camp Roberts Firefighter Dave Garabedian and a huge turnout of firefighters from around the region.
"Fresno's new District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp was donating blood in the booth near me," said Bradley. "The turn-out was heartwarming."
Captain Dern remains in critical condition with burns over 70 percent of his body after falling through the roof of a burning home on March 29, 2015. He has been breathing with the assistance of a ventilator since his surgery on April 2nd. Dern will need skin grafts using skin grown in a lab.
"This was a tragic and life-threatening fall through a roof and into a burning home," said CSLEA President Alan Barcelona. "Watching the video of that horrifying moment was a reminder for all of us, the danger our public safety professionals face as they selflessly protect people and property. Our heartfelt thoughts are with Captain Dern and his family. And my deepest appreciation for those who are responding by donating blood and money in support of Captain Dern."
According to updates posted on a website in support of Captain Dern, Dern is scheduled to have another surgery on Monday, April 6, 2015.