Say Thank You on May 4: International Firefighters’ Day!

Helen and Woodbury Fire Chief Todd Johnson.
Helen and Woodbury Fire Chief Todd Johnson.

Today is a day to express our gratitude for the brave men and women who come to help us when there’s a fire. I will forever be thankful to firefighters who saved me from a burning building – you could say this was a friendship forged in fire.

About two years ago, I awoke at 4 a.m. to the sound of a loud beeping noise. The type of sound that can only mean one thing: fire. I scurried to the door and peeped out my apartment door. I could barely see the lights in the hallway through all the black smoke. I shut the door and receded back into my room.

In my panic, I quickly called my two sons, both of whom didn’t pick up. Suddenly, there was a knock on my door; a face mostly concealed by a large helmet came peeking through my entryway.

“Miss, it’s time to go.”

I didn’t hesitate. Turns out, my friend also named Helen sure did, though. She later told us how alarmed she was to be seen in her nightie by all those good-looking young men.

They escorted a group of us out of the building and to a bus that sat safely away from the building. I didn’t sit there long. I needed to find a little girl’s room, so I exited the bus and made my way to the other senior living center across the way. My little adventure paid off because once inside, I discovered a bathroom—and a table filled with coffee and rolls. I had everything I needed in the room, why should I return? So I stayed on and had quite the lovely time.

My friends on the bus were enjoying themselves, as well. Turns out the firemen were quite the entertaining gentlemen. They shared lots of laughter and stories, and made a few more.

After the fire was put out, we heard the bad news: one of our residents had died. As we grieved our fallen friend and returned to our home, the firemen and staff were there for support. They were wonderful! We were all unhappy to say goodbye to our new friends. Luckily, it wasn’t goodbye.

Since the incident, a few of the firemen still stop by and say hello. It’s always swell to see that those committed to helping our community are good people on the clock and off. They find time in their busy schedules to check in on us, and oh, what a nice little time it is.

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