Ill. Firefighters, EMTs Aid Colleague After Stroke
HENNEPIN -- Putnam County firefighters and emergency medical technicians flocked to Hennepin this weekend to help a fellow firefighter and EMT who they say has always done far more than just putting out fires and saving lives.
David Loger of Hennepin had a stroke just before Christmas, and fire chief Daryel Petersen tries to go to St. Francis Medical Center in Peoria each week to visit him.
But this past Saturday and Sunday, Petersen didn't make the trip. Instead, he and another nine Hennepin and Granville fire district volunteers saw a break in the weather and jumped at the opportunity to install a wheelchair ramp for their comrade.
"We got it mostly done before we got rained out today," Petersen said after noon Sunday, after rain, sleet and ice arrived. They installed supports Saturday and completed the majority of the ramp including a landing and the ramp decking on Sunday.
Petersen said they'll look for another break in the weather to install railings. The outpouring of support by the volunteers made an impression on Chuck Derry, who had been a member of the department for 20 years.
"I thought, 'That's just wonderful,'" Derry said of the firefighters and EMTs taking "care of one of their own."
Petersen is hoping Loger will be able to return to his home in two or three weeks. The fire chief said Loger can speak, but has some left-side paralysis for which he is going through rehabilitation.
Fellow firefighter Quentin Buffington said he and Loger had been manning call boxes after a 911 system glitch on the night before Loger had a stroke. He said Loger had been talking about how excited he was about going Christmas shopping for family members. The next day while shopping in Walmart, Loger had a stroke, Buffington said.
Firefighters and EMTs volunteered to pay for the ramp out of their own pockets, Buffington said. However, for Loger, who had been helping fellow Putnam County residents for 20 years, the district paid for materials and the volunteers provided the labor.
"Part of the reason it was done is that there were a lot of things Dave did to help people out beyond the fire call and ambulance call that was above and beyond that people didn't know about," Buffington said.
He said sometimes firefighters or EMTs would be talking, and perhaps wondering how a family or person was doing after a fire or ambulance call. Then Loger would know because he had checked on them, or he had gone to the hospital in Spring Valley, Princeton or Peru the next day to give them a ride home. He did shift work at Emerald Performance Products (formerly operated by BF Goodrich) in Henry and would give of his free time.
"He did a lot of stuff; we wouldn't know there was a need until it was over, because he'd handled it," Buffington said.
Craig Sterrett can be reached at (815) 223-3206 Ext. 135 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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