GOING ABOVE, BEYOND Firefighters help elderly woman move to care center

KEARNEY — In addition to being busy putting out actual fires the last week of January, crews from the Kearney Area Fire and Rescue Protection District also helped put of a proverbial one when they assisted an elderly woman move from her family home to Westbrook Care Center.

During a transport call, Fire Marshal Jeff Fort went above and beyond the call duty while tending to Sue Holt, a woman suffering from medical issues who was in the process of moving from her house to the assisted living facility and care center on Platte-Clay Way.

“She had mentioned that she had no able-bodied people to help her, so he went out there with a couple of the guys and took care of it for her. … That’s the kind of stuff these guys do that goes unseen,” Deputy Fire Chief Mike Desautels said.

Fort said he knew Holt from responding to several medical assist calls. During a recent call, Fort said Holt mentioned being worried about how she was going to get her things, mainly large pieces of furniture, moved from her former residence near First Baptist Church to Westbrook, adding she had family that helped move smaller items but couldn’t lift larger pieces.

“I just told her that if she needed help, just tell us. It didn’t really take that long. It’s what were there for: to help the community. That’s the way I look at it,” Fort said, adding he had assistance with the Jan. 31 move from off-duty fire crew members Hunter Rische and Johnny Lance.

“It was definitely worth taking time off to help her out,” Fort said.

Holt said she was taken aback by the firefighters’ gesture and very appreciative.

“I don’t think it’s something they do as a rule. … I was so surprised. I had just asked if (Fort) knew some guys that could do some moving, and he just said he could take care of it,” she said.

Holt was in a emotional and mentally tough predicament, having medical issues that required frequent ambulance calls and transportation to the hospital coupled with moving from the only home she has ever known, the home she was born in and lived in for 81 years.

“I really didn’t know what I was going to do, so it was really nice of them,” she said.

Fort said he, Rische and Lance, were happy to help.

“Kearney has a large elderly community, so everybody should do their part to help take care of them,” the fire marshal said.

To Fort, who has was raised in Kearney, the helping hand he offered is just being part of the community, a place he described as giving, welcoming and the best place to live.

“Things like this are things I like to show them guys who are new to the district and are coming up. It’s not just about training them for the things we do, but about showing them you can go out and do things in the community and be part of something. It’s more about community and not just about the fire district,” he said. “If my grandparent or my mom and dad needed help, I would hope someone would offer help. So I like to do the same.”


By Amanda Lubinski amanda.lubinski@mycouriertribune.com
Feb 8, 2018