It’s not surprising that many Red Cross staff members and volunteers are involved in their communities.

In addition to his responsibilities as a Blood Collections Specialist at the Liverpool Blood Donation Center, John Minnick serves his community as a volunteer firefighter/hazardous materials rescuer with the Fayetteville Fire Department. He’s also involved with the Burn Foundation of Central New York, a non-profit, 100 percent volunteer-based organization committed to burn support, awareness, and prevention. John offered to speak with Stephen Bogdan, Eastern New York Content Creation Team Member, to share how his experiences as a volunteer firefighter, Red Cross Blood Collections Specialist, and involvement with the Burn Foundation complement each other and empower him to serve our communities.

This year, John is the Race Director for the 15th Annual Burn Run on Sunday, Nov. 7 at the East Syracuse Fire Department Station #2. The race includes a 5K and 10K nationally certified race, as well as kids fun run. He hopes to see some of his fellow Red Cross staff members, volunteers, and supporters at the event.

Every day, blood donors help patients of all ages: accident and burn victims, heart surgery and organ transplant patients, and those battling cancer.

John recounted the times he has helped save patients, “I have firsthand experience as a NYS Firefighter and a technical Haz Mat rescuer in which I have been on many calls in which I have brought severely burn victims out.”

He amplified the current urgent need for blood donations from his many responses to emergencies, “From my experiences as a Paramedic I have had thousands of critical patients. The time I spent training in the local regional trauma surgical burn unit has changed my life. I have seen the traumatic effects of these burns which require massive fluid infusions to stay alive.”

What’s the most rewarding part about both your jobs?

I have responded to and taken care of thousands of life-threatening emergencies in which our decisions were life or death. The fact that I collect and send blood to our local hospitals I know that these patients have a chance in life to recover and survive.

How do your jobs complement each other?

With new protocols coming the blood we collect may be used in the field on the scene prehospital.

These are scary times. As a firefighter and a technical Haz Mat Rescuer, what’s been the scariest thing you’ve had to deal with?

Scary from the perspective these victims may die. I have had many cases of haz mat calls in which there have been first, second and third-degree burns, some in critical condition as I undressed them to get the burning chemicals or contaminants off their bodies before transport to the hospitals.

What’s your most memorable moment from the past year?

Meeting donors on drives that are here because they received blood form our blood drives and they are alive now.

Tell us some more about the Burn Run and how to get involved and find out more information.

The Burn Run 5k & 10lk has been held annually for the past fifteen years. This year it will be held on Sunday, Nov 7. We have the support of and participation of the Red Cross teams. There will be over 700 runners on hand and numerous fire EMS and first responders also running. The support benefits The Burn Foundation of Central New York and burn patient survivors across Central New York. Our support directly impacts those burn patients from Upstate Hospital’s Burn Treatment Center and the 37 counties it supports. There will be an opportunity to meet firefighters from around the state, and survivors who have benefited from the public’s support of this wonderful event.  

For more information visit

Donate Blood and Platelets:

Right now, the Red Cross has an emergency blood and platelet shortage, and the current blood supply is the lowest the Red Cross has seen this time of year in more than a decade. Donors of all blood types – especially type O – and platelet donors are urged to make an appointment to give now and in the weeks ahead to overcome this current shortage.

In honor of the new series, I Know What You Did Last Summer, those who come to give blood Nov. 1-12, 2021, will automatically be entered to win a 10-day trip for two to Hawaii, courtesy of Amazon Prime Video. The trip will transport the winner and their guest to where the series was filmed and includes round-trip airfare for two, hotel accommodations for nine nights, meals, $1,000 gift card for expenses and on-trip transportation with tour stops from Honolulu to Maui through Trafalgar tours.

Plus, donors who come to give blood Nov. 1-23, 2021, will receive a $10 Gift Card via email, thanks to our partners at Amazon. (Restrictions apply. Additional information and details are available at