February 25, 2017
KANSAS CITY, Missouri – Following the tragic October 12, 2015 death of KCFD firefighter John Mesh while fighting a fire at Independence Ave. and Prospect, those closest to him endeavored to honor his legacy with an annual scholarship focused on conservation and education.
That vision began to come to fruition on the afternoon of Saturday, February 25, as John Sirna, firefighter at KCFD Station 10, and Jim Mesh, brother of John Mesh, donated a $10,000 John V. Mesh Memorial Scholarship check to the Missouri Department of Conservation. The scholarship money will help fund the annual Discover Girls Nature Camp, which Sirna and Jim Mesh described as ‘a weekend in the woods for girls ages 11-15’ when they started the scholarship last summer.
“They have roughly 25-30 girls that they send out for a weekend of camping to teach about camping and outdoors. Whatever we can donate to go towards that is our goal,” said Sirna at the time. “John was very passionate about the outdoors, and when I came across this nature camp it seemed like a perfect fit. John had four young daughters, so it was kind of like an omen.”
According to Conservation agent Brian Bartlett, the donation will help fund many years of the camp, which offers girls a chance to experience the outdoors. Bartlett added that it’s an amazing transformation to see young girls go from being squeamish about worms to kissing fish by the camp’s conclusion.
The first fundraiser for the non-profit was a sporting clay shoot, which was held on Friday, August 5 at Powder Creek Shooting Park in Lenexa. According to Sirna, the event will be an annual event.