Lifestyle & Human Interest

Kindhearted Firefighters Spot Man Whose Wheelchair Stopped Working, Push Him Rest of Way Home


Have you ever considered that blessings can sometimes turn into curses? All it takes is a slight shift in circumstances.

That job you wanted so badly? Well, it suddenly becomes a lot less desirable when you realize all of the hours you’ll have to pour into it.

Much the same could even be said for life-changing technology such as wheelchairs. As the case of one man from the Show Me State reveals, the very things that help the disadvantaged can also land them in a world of trouble.

In mid-April, a Missouri veteran decided that he wanted to do a little fishing. Sounds like a reasonable enough desire, but this veteran faced a unique challenge.

He was confined to an electric wheelchair. However, he decided that it wouldn’t keep him from throwing a line out.

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According to The Kansas City Star, he almost managed it, too. He only ran into problems when he steered his chair off of a paved path leading to a local pond.

That was when he ran into mud — and got stuck. Try as he might, he couldn’t get his chair to budge and neither could passersby.

So they did the only thing they could think and called the fire department. Now fire departments seek to protect life and property, but when most of us think about that fact, I imagine that we envision brave first responders battling big blazes or helping out with horrendous car wrecks.

Yet in this case, they assisted in a far less dramatic way. When the Raytown Fire Protection District showed up on the scene, they knew what needed to be done.

“Our guys responded out there and basically lifted a wheelchair with him in it up out of the rut he was stuck in,” Deputy Chief Mike Hunley said. “He apparently had been trying to get himself out with the wheelchair and had expended the battery so it was pretty drained.”

Electric wheelchairs don’t work quite the same way as the old-fashioned ones you’ll find in hospitals. They have batteries and heavy-duty accoutrements designed for seriously disabled people who will spend most of their time sitting in the same place.

In other words, they weigh an awful lot. So after the firefighters lifted the veteran out of the muck, they found themselves facing another daunting task: They had to get him home.

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The easiest way to get the veteran back to his house also proved the most difficult. Three of the firefighters got behind him and started pushing him down the street.

“They pushed him about seven blocks back to his house,” Hunley said. Meanwhile, another firefighter drove a fire truck behind them to warn off any approaching cars.

Fortunately, the veteran had enough juice left in his batteries to get the wheelchair inside his home. The firefighters recorded their efforts and uploaded the video to social media, which has now garnered more than 140,000 views.

“We encourage our guys to find the best way to make a difference when they are out in the field,” Hunley said. “We are happy to see our guys help people, because that’s what we do for a living.”

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A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine.
A graduate of Wheaton College with a degree in literature, Loren also adores language. He has served as assistant editor for Plugged In magazine and copy editor for Wildlife Photographic magazine. Most days find him crafting copy for corporate and small-business clients, but he also occasionally indulges in creative writing. His short fiction has appeared in a number of anthologies and magazines. Loren currently lives in south Florida with his wife and three children.
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