Mariner is a hero to firefighters

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 13, 2004

Suffolk News-Herald

Jay Vaughan Baines Jr. is a hero in the eyes of Suffolk firefighters.

He came up with an idea that will help them assist children in traumatic situations, and with the aid of all the little &uot;Mariners&uot; and Principal Carolyn &uot;Sunny&uot; Dixon at Kilby Shores Elementary School, &uot;Jay’s Giant Beanie Baby Benefit&uot; was a success.

Email newsletter signup

Jay, a fourth-grader at Kilby Shores, is extremely well thought of at the school by students and staff alike. When he read about a fire destroying a home and the children’s toys, he wanted to do something for them, so he took his thoughts up with the school principal.

&uot;Jay is such an enterprising and thoughtful young man and he came to me with an idea for a project we talked about how we would organize it and put it together,&uot; said Dixon. &uot;He loves and collects Beanie Babies and he thought that every child involved in such traumatic situations, like fires and accidents, would also love to have a Beanie Baby to hang onto.&uot;

Dixon said that not only did Jay come up with the idea for the project, but he also followed through and collected 120 Beanie Babies as well as $100 for burn victims to attend the Central Virginia Burn Camp in the summer.

&uot;He made the signs, containers for the collected Beanie Babies, and collected them from other students who donated them each morning. He also thanked every child who brought one. He conducted himself in almost a professional manner and we are all very proud of Jay.&uot;

Jay was honored Friday morning for his thoughtfulness in helping the firefighters as they serve and protect children involved in fires, accidents and other traumatic events. He received a handsome certificate of appreciation and was introduced in front of the entire Mariners student body and the seven firefighters who brought the certificate to him.

The firefighters also brought movie passes and a certificate for a free lunch at Applebee’s, however, Jay had other ideas.

&uot;I’d rather spend the day with the firefighters,&uot; he explained. &uot;I just met the firefighters when they came to collect the Beanie Babies and I just feel like it would be really great to spend a day at the fire station.&uot;

In his typical well-mannered way, Jay thanked several people for helping him in school – his teacher, Arnette Street, and teacher’s assistant Donald Bess. Street said she thinks it’s great that Jay is such a caring and giving person and, she added that Jay is a good and dedicated student.

&uot;They (teachers) help me learn a lot of things like math, science, social studies and English,&uot; said Jay. &uot;I don’t know what I want to be yet, and I have a lot in mind, but firefighter is definitely under consideration. Right now, I’m thinking up another project, and also I’m trying to write a story about my life.&uot;

Suffolk Fire Department Ladder Company # 3 of White Marsh Road, including Fire Specialist Pam King, Lt. J. R. Lilienthal, Lt. John Sudduth, and Firefighters Joey Holland, Sean Betts, David Grove, and Mike Miller, joined the school in congratulating Jay for his thoughtfulness of other children.

Lilienthal said Jay has done a tremendous job for the fire department and that the Beanie Babies will certainly be a most welcome item to give to children in need of comfort.

&uot;Also, he did a great job for the Central Virginia Burn Camp,&uot; said Lilienthal. &uot;The $100 he collected will enable a child to attend camp. We’d like to have 10 more youth as thoughtful as Jay.&uot;

King said that Jay displayed great compassion through his actions that will definitely benefit this community.

&uot;His actions are just awesome and he will truly be remembered in our department,&uot; said King. &uot;We are certainly looking forward to spending a day with him at the fire station. We will get together as soon as school’s out.&uot;

Jay is the son of Jeanie and Jay Baines Sr., of Cypress Chapel Road.