The Big Voice

CEO’s Leadership Letter

February 2020

Dear Friends,

I hope you’ve had a blessed start to 2020. Thank you for your generous end of year contributions. Your giving during the holiday season is invaluable for the families, veterans, first responders and institutions we serve.

As the founder of Sons of the Flag (SOTF), all of the stories from our community feel personal to me. But truthfully, some stories hit my heart a little harder. Devin Barnhart’s journey is one such story; a burn survivor, firefighter, and now SOTF Task Force Leader for Colorado. In August 2008, Devin was severely burned in a house fire that claimed the lives of three of his close friends. Struggling with why he had been allowed to live, Devin ultimately found purpose after peril when he harnessed his trauma to dedicate his life to service. I know what it’s like to lose friends to devastating burn and blast trauma; loss is a wound that never fully heals. I know what it’s like to struggle with wondering, am I a victim or a survivor? And I know what it’s like to be transformed by trauma and called to serve in a new way. That’s why I founded SOTF. I am so grateful to Devin for joining the SOTF team, becoming a champion for our cause and the community we serve.

Speaking of champions for the cause, the American Burn Association (ABA) held the annual National Burn Awareness Week (NBAW) earlier this month; NBAW is always a great opportunity to heighten our efforts to increase burn awareness and understanding of burn prevention within the community. We’ve included some of the ABA’s advice for preventative measures against common contact burns.

We hope you enjoy this edition of Big Voice. Much like the “big voice” loudspeakers used to broadcast urgent messages on a military base, our Big Voice brings vital news to you: incredible stories from burn survivors and care providers who embody fearlessness, determination and fortitude. A burn injury lasts a lifetime but the trauma doesn’t have to. As you consider your giving for the coming year, I invite you to commit to partnering financially with SOTF throughout 2020. Faithful support from friends like you enables SOTF to pursue our mission of revolutionizing burn care.

With a grateful heart,

Ryan “Birdman” Parrott
Founder & CEO