Firefighters are often the first to arrive on the scene of an accident, and in some cases, they’re also the last to leave.
Rachel Schoonover is a 6th-grade teacher from Elmira, New York. A few days before Christmas, Rachel was home with her young son, Declan, while her husband Colin was at work. As Rachel was washing dishes in the kitchen sink, a wine glass slipped from her soapy grasp and shattered, slicing open the side of her wrist in the process.
The glass didn’t just cut the young mom’s wrist, it also nicked an artery. Blood began spraying from the wound immediately, and a shocked Rachel barely had time to wrap a towel around her hand before her kitchen was covered in the viscous fluid. Panicked, Rachel called 911 and her mother to come watch Declan.
The West Elmira Fire Department showed up first, quickly applying a tourniquet, monitoring Rachel’s vital signs, and keeping her calm. The firefighters also helped her take care of Declan and stayed with him until his grandmother arrived. Meanwhile, Rachel was whisked off to an area hospital where she received 2 IVs of fluid, 9 stitches, and a tetanus shot.
In spite of all the drama, the biggest surprise for Rachel was yet to come.
“When we got back to my house, I was dreading the bloody mess that was waiting for me in every room,” Rachel wrote on Facebook. “Surprisingly, though, the mess was nearly nonexistent. On the counter, I found this letter. These men wiped down my fridge, coffee maker, speakers, cupboards, bathtub, floors, and even individual K-cups that had been hit. They put the dirty towels in my bathtub, threw away the glass, and cleaned up the blood in my sink.”
“Hope you feel better and have a happy holiday with your boy. We cleaned up some shortly after you left. Hope you don’t mind. We didn’t know what to do with the rug though. Have a glass of wine for us and feel better. Happy Holidays, West Elmira Firemen.”
Rachel was so moved by the kindness of their gesture that she wrote about the experience on her Facebook page, ending her post with, “While everyone last night went above and beyond to help me, I am especially grateful for these guys. Thank you so much, West Elmira Fire Department! Merry Christmas!”
The fire department saw Rachel’s glowing review of their services and replied, confirming that a few of the men had actually left the home to go get cleaning supplies, then returned in order to tidy up so Rachel wouldn’t have to come home to such a mess.
“We are glad to hear that the patient returned home and hope they had a wonderful Christmas,” they replied. “As a Department, we are very grateful for the dedication and commitment of our membership to meet or exceed the expectations of our community. Thank you all again for the support.”
It’s always comforting to know that there are dedicated emergency personnel to come rescue us when things go wrong, but these firefighters truly went above and beyond. They acted like true neighbors. Well done, West Elmira Fire Department!
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