When Flat Stanley arrived by mail in August 2013, the International jumped into action.

He arrived folded in an envelope with a letter written by Abigail Jensen, 8, daughter of John Jensen, a member of Des Moines, IA Local 4, along with a request for the IAFF to take Flat Stanley out for a quick tour of the sites in the Nation’s Capital.

For those who don’t have children, “Flat Stanley” is the explosively popular children’s book used as a creative learning tool in classes across the globe. Stanley Lambchop is flat because a bulletin board has fallen on him. Rather than complaining, he makes the best of his new form by slipping into tight spaces. Soon, he realizes he can travel the world by mailing himself around.

Students make their own paper Flat Stanley’s and decide where to send him on a trip.

As part of the project, the people he meets are asked to write “from Flat Stanley” letter and send it back to the student to be read in class.
Abigail cut and colored her own Flat Stanley and sent him to the IAFF. From there, with the help of the IAFF Communications Department, Stanley took a short trip across the street for pictures in front of the White House and the Washington Monument.

In his letter, Flat Stanly explains why the Washington Monument was shrouded in scaffolding. Workers were repairing several cracks that had opened on the façade as a result of an earthquake two years earlier.

Picture taken and letter written, Flat Stanley returned to Abigail and she proudly read her letter to the class and shared the pictures from his adventure.
“With the assistance of IAFF and IAFF 2nd District Vice President Mark Woolbright, my daughter’s school project was a huge success for her and her school,” says John Jensen.