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Second grader raises $85 for burn victims

Published: Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 10:24 a.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Sept. 14, 2012 10:25 a.m. CDT
Oregon second grader Anna Withers stands in front of an Oregon fire truck with Captain Ken Hilton, Assistant Chief Randy Travis, Assistant Chief Al Greene and firefighter Matt Schnorr. Photo supplied

An Oregon second grader wanted to help a volunteer fireman and his fiance who were burned in an Aug. 20 fire so, she had a lemonade stand.

And on Monday night, Anna Withers, proudly gave $85 from that sale, including some of her own savings, to the Thomas Jones and Chelsy Janssen Fund.

Withers made her donation at the Oregon Fire Department.

"The money was collected at a lemonade stand during a garage sale and some from her own savings," said assistant fire chief Ken Hilton. "She said she wants to do all she can to help."

Anna is the daughter of Ryan and Janice Withers of Oregon.

The 7-year-old said it only seemed right to help since Thomas is a fireman.

"I did it 'cause Thomas helps us, and why don't we help him for once," she said.

Thomas Jones, 25,  a volunteer firefighter, was burned over 85 percent of his body Aug. 20 in a garage explosion and fire at the home he shares with his parents at 406 S. Eighth St.

He was working on a demolition derby car in the garage behind the house when the explosion and fire occurred.

The explosion ignited the garage and house. The garage was destroyed and the house sustained major damage.

Jones had his first skin grafts on Sept. 1 at OSF St. Anthony Medical Center, where he remains in critical condition.

His fiancé Chelsy Janssen, 22, Mt. Morris, suffered second degree burns when she went to his aid. She was released from the hospital Aug. 25.

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