U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jordan Dehlbom and 1st Lt Phillip Cole, 48th Rescue Squadron, look for specific stuffed animals for each child at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., Sept. 10, 2012. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths/Released)
U.S. Air Force Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron hand out stuffed animals to children at the University Medical Center in Tucson, Ariz., Sept. 10, 2012. The stuffed animals were handed out in honor of Janie Fahrendorff, who had passed away of cancer and had asked for the stuffed animals to be given to the children. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Christine Griffiths
355th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/2/2012 - TUCSON, Ariz. -- Airmen from the 48th Rescue Squadron at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Ariz., visited Tucson's University Medical Center, handing out stuffed animals to the children of the pediatric ward Sept. 10.
The members of the 48th RQS volunteered in honor of Janie Fahrendorff, an 18-year-old patient who had passed away from cancer in July.
Before Janie passed away she asked to have stuffed animals donated to the children of the hospital in memory of her. Penny West, Aerotech newspaper carrier, did just that. She went from squadron to squadron around base and asked if they could donate. Not only did she get donations, she had Airmen from the 48th donate their time as well.
Throughout the morning, the Airmen passed out stuffed animals to the individual children hospitalized at UMC.
"I could tell the children were very excited to have us there," said Senior Master Sgt. Michael Atkins, 48th RQS superintendent. "I enjoyed seeing the smiles on their faces."
West was a friend of Janie. Both had met one another at Saguaro Canyon Church. Janie enjoyed spending time there as well as Erik Hite Family Park.
"Church was like her home, that's where she enjoyed going," West said. "That was where her friend were."
Janie loved picking a stuffed animal from the box at the medical center. They provided her a sense of comfort when she needed it most.
"When she went from home to home the stuffed animals were like her best friends," West said. "They comforted her; she cried into them, she held them and she wanted every child to have one."