October 18, 2016 07:17PM
By Jason Vallee
Sun staff writer
WESTERLY — When staff with the Dunn’s Corners Fire Department and Westerly Ambulance responded to the home of an elderly man who fell on his property while doing yard work Friday evening, he refused to leave because he was worried his yard would never be finished.
So they did the most neighborly thing they could think of — they completed the remaining yard work for him.
“It was a rather simple request. He was concerned about the leaves getting cleared and we had the time, so we told him we would take care of it. The smile he gave us alone made it worth it,” said Deputy Chief Carl Johnson of the Dunn’s Corners Fire Department.
Now the community, after reading the tale in a brief Facebook post Friday night, is recognizing Johnson, firefighter/EMT Chris Wells, firefighter Josh Gabriel and Capt. Rich Mosher of Westerly Ambulance Corps for going above and beyond the call of duty by taking an extra step to help get the 92-year-old the care — and helping hand — that he needed.
Westerly Ambulance Corps Chief Bethany Gingerella praised members of both departments, saying the response shows a “true community effort” and highlights the dedication that Westerly’s volunteers show on a daily basis.
Mosher and the three members of the fire department initially responded to the home around 5 p.m., according to reports. Further details of the response, including exact location and identity of the victim, could not be provided due to the nature of the call as a medical response.
Concerned about getting the man the help he needed, Gingerella said the four men wasted no time in volunteering. They completed the trimming and packed up the last bag of yard debris, leaving it with the completed piles by the man’s shed.
For Johnson and Wells, who discussed their helping hand at the Dunn’s Corners Fire Department on Monday afternoon, the decision was not about receiving recognition. In fact, both men said they did not realize how much of a helping hand they had given until the community spoke up to say thank you on social media the next day.
Wells said when he heard the man’s concerns, all four involved immediately agreed that taking on completion of chores was the right thing to do.
“It was something we could do to help, to make his life easier and to assure he was able to rest when he finally got home,” Wells said.
Gingerella and Dunn’s Corners Fire Chief Michael J. Frink said although they aren’t seeking attention, the men that stepped up deserve the accolades they are receiving. Both also said the response is just the latest example of how the departments work together daily to make the community a better place in which to live and work.
“It shows the compassion and dedication that our staff, and the staff at Westerly Ambulance, have for this community,” Frink said. “These guys regularly go above and beyond the call of duty and truly make our departments the best that they can be.”