WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOUTV)–A simple glass bead. It looks like nothing more than a piece of jewelry but to children going through the fight of their lives, it’s a source of encouragement.
“The child that’s in the Beads program will receive a bead anytime they have an x-ray, blood work, see a doctor, surgery, some biopsy, whatever, and the child can get up to 500 beads their first year,” Firefighter, Tom Heffers from the Wilkes-Barre Fire Department said.
The beads of courage program pairs a first responder with a child in the hospital. That responder like Firefighter Heffers wears a pair of beads while on duty then oen is given to the child when he or she receives a medical treatment.
“We go down to Danville Janet Weiss Hospital and meet with the kids individually. Hand out beads to kids that are in the program, meet with the parents. It’s a short time, but it means a lot to the kids,” Heffers said.
The idea is give that kid the courage to get through something that can be scary to a child.
“This is not a 9-5 job for these people. They have heart, they have compassion, they care about the community and this is an example for them to show that,” David Palermo from Palermo Heart-to-Heart said.
Now the Palermo Heart To Heart foundation is using the badges and boots campaign to recruit more first responders to carry beads.
“We want to challenge other first responders throughout northeastern Pennsylvania to join us,” Palermo said.
A tiny token that can make a big difference.
“100 or 200 more. There’s a lot of EMS workers, lot of firefighters, police officers in this area, come on and step up to the plate,” Heffers said.