Photo by Heather Middleton
By Mehgaan Jones
The Heart-Burn Foundation is hosting its Fourth Annual Sweetheart's Ball Fund-raiser, this month, for families who are in need of recovery services in the aftermath of a fire.
The foundation, started in 2000, is a 501c3, non-profit organization, which serves victims of fires in Clayton County, who need help with such things as counseling, food, and shelter.
"Fire safety is so important," said the founder, and president, of the Heat-Burn Foundation, Linda McQueen. So too, is fire safety education, she added.
The foundation invites the public to come to a night of dance and music, at the Sweetheart's Ball, on Saturday, Feb. 12, from 7 p.m., until midnight, at The Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel, located at 4736 Best Road, in Atlanta. Tickets are $50 per person.
"[The ball] is not only a fund-raiser, but a chance to have fun, and promote the cause," said the City of Riverdale's fire educator, Carol Epton- Keitt, who is also a Heat-Burn Foundation board member.
McQueen founded the Heat-Burn Foundation after she suffered second-degree, and third-degree, burns from an explosion of an oxygen tank, on an airplane when she worked as a flight attendant.
She was in a coma and experienced a near-death experience, she said.
After four and a half years, McQueen was fully recovered.
"I learned how to use my hands again...I grew my hair back," she said. "I was completely restored."
"We give her [Linda McQueen] as much support as we can," Keitt said. "We [City of Riverdale] help promote her cause, and donate fire prevention items we have [to the foundation]," said Epton-Keitt.
The event will include dinner, an "old-school" dance contest, and a male auction for single women, said McQueen,
"The auction will include four young men [ages 28-40], and four older men [ages 50-72]," said McQueen.
She added that the couples will receive certificates to go on a lunch date.
McQueen said the ball will also honor the youngest and oldest couples, present at the event.
Emcees for the ball will be V-103 radio personality Wanda Smith, and Will Jordan, who will auction off the male participants.
"We will have a night of fun, " said McQueen.
"We will raise money for the foundation because people are in need," she added. "People are devastated, especially after they lose ...a family member or their home."