Firefighters answer the call to build wheelchair ramp

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With amputee Raymond Olson looking on from ramp, from left, Firefighter Matt Furtney, local contractors Tyler Kraytenberg and Chris Edgecomb, Firefighters Chris Stevens, Devon Pageau, Brian Snyder and Capt. Paul LaClair.. (Courtesy photo)

ROCHESTER - When resident Carolyn Hyde reached out to the Rochester Fire Department for help obtaining a wheelchair ramp for her fiance Raymond Olson, who recently had a portion of his leg amputated and is battling stage three lung cancer, firefighters didn't hesitate to help.

On May 27, Hyde contacted the Rochester Fire Department simply looking to be pointed in the right direction for obtaining resources to have a wheelchair ramp, which was not covered by Olson's insurance, constructed at her home.

Hyde reached Firefighter Sam Morrill, President of Rochester Professional Firefighters Local 1451, who took down the details of the ramp specifications. Later in the day he called back and said Rochester firefighters would be able to help.

On Friday morning seven firefighters arrived at Hyde's home on Davis Boulevard with materials in hand to construct the ramp free of charge. By the afternoon, another eight firefighters had joined in the effort.

"I want to commend each and every one of these fine gentlemen for all their hard working efforts, for voluntarily making our lives a little easier during this troublesome time of bad news," Hyde said. "They paid for supplies, materials, time and labor with no questions asked. They are angels in my book."

By 1:30 p.m., firefighters had constructed a ramp, which Olson promptly tried out. After a week and a half of being without a way to easily enter and exit his home, Olson was finally able to go outside and enjoy the weather.

"I'm extremely proud of the firefighters who went above and beyond the call of duty by volunteering their time and money to help these residents in need," Interim Chief Mark Dupuis said. "Being a firefighter is about more than just fighting fires. We're here to assist our community in whatever way we can."

Others who helped but were not in above photo include, Firefighter Micah Ruel, Lt. Mike George, Captain Joe Burns, and Firefighter Kaitlin Taatjes.

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