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Connecting Burn Patients & Caregivers to Volunteer Opportunities

SOAR is a program from the Phoenix Society for Burn Survivors. The purpose of the program is to make sure no one recovers from a burn injury alone and to help provide hope. Talking to a trained peer supporter can help anyone affected by a burn injury feel less alone and be better prepared for the future.

Our SOAR supporters are previous patients or their loved ones who have gone through both hospital and peer support training to be able to provide the best support possible. Ask any team member to connect you with a SOAR Coordinator.

How to Become a SOAR Volunteer

To become a volunteer, we ask that you complete the following:

  • Attend an annual training
  • Be at least one year post burn injury
  • Submit an application
  • Submit letters of recommendation
  • Attend an eight-hour training session
  • Meet the requirements of the University of Utah Health Volunteer Department

Watch Our Patient Stories

Meet Our Volunteers

soar-survivor_sm.jpgJoseph Martinez

Joseph sustained his burn injury in a work related accident in 2010. He was 29 at the time of the injury. He was burned to 15 percent of his body. Joseph is married with three children. Joseph is active with his family and with the Native American community.

Jason McDermott

In 2010 at age 39, Jason sustained his burn injury after throwing gas onto a camp fire. He was burned over 50 percent of his body and underwent amputation of his right hand. Jason lives with his wife and children in Milford, UT.

Amy Farnsworth

Amy is a 40-year-old woman who sustained a scald injury to 30 percent of her body when she was one year old. Amy lives in Vernal, UT, with her husband and works as a school teacher.

Ashley Berman

Ashley is currently a college student at the University of Utah. Ashley was burned at age 8 to 22 percent of her body after being hit by a car while riding her bike in 2002. Ashley is an avid horsewoman.

Sam Matagi

In December of 2010, Sam sustained an electrical injury while working as a lineman. Both of his arms were amputated below the elbow. He was 34 years old at the time of the accident.

Sam lives in West Valley, UT. Sam is also known under the YouTube name: The No-Handed Bandit and has created a series of how-to videos for others using bilateral prosthetics.

Michelle Whilhelmsen

In 2007, Michelle’s five-year-old son sustained burns to 25 percent of his body when his sweatshirt came in contact with a gas heater. Michelle, her husband, and children live in South Jordan, UT.

Michelle and her family have wisdom and joy to share regarding the road of recovery. Her son is now active in the burn camp programs and has found his own path to healing through this experience.

Clinton “Quimby” Roundy

Quimby sustained burns to 20 percent of his body in a camp fire accident at age 24 in the year 2000.

Quimby lives in Salt Lake City, UT. He is active in the outdoors and with his family and friends. He and his brother William “Shad” Roundy, who is also a SOAR volunteer, are eager to share what they have learned with others.

Keven Walgamott

In 2002 when Keven was 43, he sustained an electrical injury. As a result of his injury, his left arm and leg were amputated. Kevin knows firsthand the importance of positive reinforcement and peer support.

Phil McSwain

Phil was involved in a flash fire/explosion while working at a refinery in 2009. He was 43 at the time of his injury. Phil now works as the safety manager at the same refinery.

He has participated in peer support and values the impact in can have on normalizing the experience and gaining insight from those who have had a similar experience. Phil also recognizes the impact a traumatic injury or illness can have on the entire family system.

Lisa Speckman

Lisa survived a necrotizing fasciitis group A strep infection in 2005. This resulted in the loss of both legs and one arm.

Lisa is an RN, which gives her unique insight into the healing process. She brings wisdom and a relentless desire to live life fully. She is married with two young children and enjoys the outdoors and athletic challenges of most kinds.

Meet Our Patients