Lifestyle & Human Interest

Michigan Community Comes Together to Help Down and Out Ex-Firefighter


Many times when you post a simple question or request online, you get a variety of responses — not all of them helpful. But when the comments start an avalanche of kindness, it can be difficult to believe the offers are genuine.

That’s a bit how JD Edgington of Grand Haven, Michigan, felt when he posted a simple request for information on the local Facebook group, Grand Haven Informed.

“I just posted on there asking for laundry and a shower,” Edgington told WZZM-TV. “And within 24 hours, I had a job and a vehicle.”

Just a few years ago, life was looking all right for Edgington. He had a job as a firefighter in Iowa, he had friends and he had a fiancé.

But then he responded to a devastating call where a 9-year-old boy lost his life, and it haunted him. He couldn’t shake it, and that experience ate away at him until he lost everything.

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“Couldn’t really get a grip on it, and I … turned to alcohol after that,” Edgington said. “I drank pretty heavily for about a year and a half. Had 17 trips to the ER for alcohol poisoning.”

In October of last year, he went to rehab and got sober — but he would have to rebuild his life from the ground up. All he had to his name was his beat-up PT Cruiser that barely operated.

“I’ve just been kinda living this borderline life of being … being lost and not really knowing what to do,” he told WXMI-TV. “I just couldn’t get ahead.”

He found his way to Michigan, and he turned to the Facebook group, where he simply asked “if there was any showers in the area that were free and then the cheapest laundromat.”

People started to respond, offering more than information. They offered to wash his clothes, give him gym passes to shower, feed him and even pay for a hotel so he wouldn’t have to sleep in his car — but Edgington was hesitant.

“Immediately I … started backpedaling,” he admitted. “Because every time I’ve accepted help in the past, it’s … it’s gone south.”

But one woman named Kimberly Niblick got through to him. He later said that something about her demeanor made him feel like he could trust her, that she was “like a mom and a best friend all at the same time.”

Thanks to Niblick, Edgington got a job with her family’s construction business.


“It’s good money,” he said. “So I’m going to be going from living in my car, to I think he said they’re staying at the Hilton. He said there’s a pool and a hot tub and everything.”

But the giving wasn’t over yet. The owner of a used car lot, Adam Koss, wanted to extend a generous gift to help the ex-firefighter as well.

“Here’s a guy, very clearly down on his luck, but he’s not online looking for handouts,” Koss said. “It was a breath of fresh air to scroll through and just see nothing but the community coming together to help this guy.

“I’m a firm believer in you get what you put into the universe. And clearly, he had some good karma coming his way.”

Soon, Edgington was the new owner of a 2007 Jeep Grand Cherokee. The car was completely free to him, and Koss even picked him up from his hotel to take him to sign the paperwork and pick up his new set of wheels.

“This is like, the newest, nicest car I’ve ever owned,” Edgington said.

Koss’ wife, Jori, posted photos of the car and bragged on her husband.

“I don’t know if you saw, but I’m posting on behalf of my husband, the owner, Andrew Koss. He donated a car with NO strings attached to a local man who was living out of his car and had no one to turn to,” she wrote.

“He didn’t ask for a car, just a warm shower and laundry. The West Michigan community came together and gave him a job, lodging, and Accurate Automotive gave him a car to transform his life. Thank you Andrew for being so selfless and giving to those in need!”

The post has warmed many hearts, including those who have done the primary gifting.

“We are incredibly grateful to be able to offer JD this opportunity and a fresh start at a new life,” Niblick said. “His story has been incredible to watch. So many wonderful people have stepped forward in Grand Haven and offered him a second chance.”

“I want to say thank you,” Edgington added. “I don’t know how, how to say it enough, but you guys saved my life. I really thought that was it.

“These people, they didn’t even know me, and all this they’re doing for me, I don’t know how to say thankful enough. They’re like angels to me.”

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