Like many Red Cross staff members and volunteers, John Minnick is deeply involved in his community – with the goal of giving hope and improving the lives of others. In addition to his role at the Red Cross as a Blood Collections Specialist, John has proudly served as a firefighter for three decades, and currently serves with the East Syracuse Fire Department. John also has training and experience in special rescue operations. Strengthening his role at the Red Cross, he has completed additional training in the command and management of major disasters.

For over 15 years and since its inception, he’s also been involved with the Annual Burn Run, which supports the Burn Foundation of Central New York, a non-profit organization committed to burn support, awareness, and prevention. John is serving as race director for a second year. “I have seen first-hand these devastating injuries, having been the first on the scene,” John said.   

John welcomes his fellow Red Cross staff members and volunteers to attend the Burn Run. In addition to post-race food, prizes and fun, it’s an opportunity to show support for our first responders.

“This is a chance for everyone to be with firefighters that risk their lives every day to rescue folks from burning buildings or burns caused by hazardous materials incidents, meet hospital staff that spend hundreds of dedicated hours bringing these patients back to a more normal life,” he noted.

John spoke 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.

Tell us more about the Burn Run for this year’s Burn Run

“This year it is on Sunday, Nov 6, in East Syracuse.  We have runners, first responders, and hospital staff from across New York State at our event with proceeds supporting Burn Survivors from across New York State. The race includes a 5K and 10K nationally certified race, as well as a fun run for children, we will have many aspects this year, Veterans Day salute, Military presence, etc.”

The Burn Run began in 2006 with 79 runners and now has over 700. The Red Cross has expanded its presence this year. How will the Red Cross be involved?

“This year we have Red Cross supervisors assisting us in the yearlong planning, Red Cross transportation staff assisting the registration area, other staff helping with the event set up, blood collections members helping on the course and representatives from disaster services spreading the prevention message.

“Red Cross runners will be joining the first responders. All Red Cross runners from across New York State will have their own race category with special awards plus a team picture.”

In addition to the fun and camaraderie on race day, how are you encouraging others to consider donating blood and becoming involved with the Red Cross and the Burn Run?

“We will have burn patients on hand that have been thru these traumatic situations. Additionally, there will be an opportunity to meet firefighters from around the state, and survivors that have benefited from the public’s support of this wonderful event. Be a part of this event by joining us and show your support. We welcome new runners, spectators and sponsors every year!” 

This year’s Burn Run is on Sunday, Nov. 6 at the East Syracuse Fire Department #2, 148 Sanders Creek Parkway, East Syracuse, NY.  Visit for more information and to register.


The American Red Cross urges blood donors of all types and those who have never given before to book a time to give blood or platelets now and help keep the blood supply from dropping ahead of the holidays.

People of all blood types are needed, especially platelet donors and those with type O blood – blood products that are critical to keeping hospitals ready to help patients depending on transfusions in the weeks ahead.

Book now by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App, visiting or calling 1-800-RED CROSS (1-800-733-2767). As a thank-you for taking the time to give this fall, all who come to give Nov.1-22 will receive a $10 e-gift card by email to a merchant of choice. Details are available at