Firefighters Go Beyond Call of Duty… Bringing Help to Those Who Can’t Help Themselves

Have you ever seen an official job description for a firefighter or other first responder?

If so, you probably didn’t see, “Going above and beyond the call of duty” as one of the responsibilities.

But it’s what a vast majority of them do. Over and over again. Not only do they save lives with their quick responses to emergency situations.

They also frequently look for extra ways to help people in need. It seems to be in their nature to do that. No wonder they chose this type of career.

Heart Attack Victim Rushed to Hospital

I could provide you with countless examples of firefighters and other first responders going beyond the call of duty. But I’ll mention a couple of recent ones.

Last month, a 40-year-old Tampa, Florida man named Gene Work was laying sod in his yard on a Saturday afternoon.

There was a sense of urgency to his task. He needed to finish it by that evening to avoid a fine from his homeowner’s association.

He suddenly felt a heart attack coming on. Fortunately, emergency responders were able to get him to the hospital in time.

Couple Worried About Fine

Now, when someone is having a heart attack, getting sod laid in a yard normally takes a backseat to his or her physical concerns.

But Gene knew he and his wife, Melissa, would not be able to afford the fine. You see, Melissa would also be in a hospital bed soon.

She was scheduled to have an expensive bone marrow transplant this month. Avoiding a fine was important to them.

“While he was having his heart attack, literally in and out of consciousness, he kept begging me to figure out the sod and have it put down because he didn’t want it to go to waste and die,” Melissa revealed in a Facebook post.

Emergency Responders Return to the Scene

Gene’s brother continued to work on the yard while Gene and Melissa were at the hospital. But the brother knew he would not be able to finish the job before nightfall.

Some of the emergency responders from Pasco County Fire Rescue had overheard Gene talking to his wife. They decided to return to the Works’ home and help his brother finish the job.

And this was after they had completed their shift. They knew there would be no pay for this. Why did they do it? Because they wanted to step up and do something kind for someone in need.

Melissa’s social media post about this act of kindness received more than 90,000 “likes” over four days. And some 68,000 “shares.”

Autistic Child Gets Stolen Bike Back

Here’s another example of “above and beyond.” Firefighters from York County in South Carolina and local Rock Hill police officers decided that returning a stolen bicycle to a disappointed child was not enough.

An 11-year-old autistic boy from Rock Hill had his bike stolen. Officers recovered the bike. Then, members of the Fire & Iron Motorcycle Club Station 88 worked on it to make it more suitable for him.

The club includes firefighters and supporters of fire services. They gave the bike three rear wheels, a siren and a horn. And added a special storage compartment.

After the boy wrote a heartfelt thank-you card, members of the club showed up at his family’s house. They applauded when the child rode his new and improved bike.

Who Responds to First Responders?

So, we know what first responders do when others are in trouble. But what about when first responders need assistance? Who helps them?

Not surprisingly, it’s often other first responders.

David Cox and Patrick Moody are longtime firefighters in Lynchburg, Virginia. Helping others is in their DNA.

But Cox has been diagnosed with myasthenia gravis. It’s an autoimmune and neuromuscular disease. And Moody has been diagnosed with Stage 4 colon cancer.

It’s in Their Nature to Help

They’re both fighting for their lives. But their focus is still on others.

Cox and Moody founded Brothers in Arms. It’s a nonprofit organization that provides financial help to first responders dealing with a debilitating illness or cancer.

“It’s in our nature,” Cox said. “That’s what we do. Help one another.”

Come to think of it, this is something that should be second nature to all of us. We may not all be firefighters, but we can certainly be the first to respond when we see someone who needs help.


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