Cops, YFD, EMTs, pitch in to help woman


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By JOE GORMAN

jgorman@vindy.com

YOUNGSTOWN

As first responders, city patrol officers and paramedics often – sometimes daily – come across people who are barely getting by.

Sometimes they can do something, as officers Jennifer Hudson and Kristin Vaughan and part-time paramedic and fire department Capt. Gene Cook did last week, when they helped an East Side woman who is still trying to recover from a burglary earlier this year.

The woman was in the hospital for several months when she was released in the winter, only to find her heat, gas and water shut off and no way to get them hooked up, and her apartment broken into with all her appliances and furniture taken.

At the time, police officers Jeff Roberts and Jim Welch made arrangements to get her utilities hooked up. She was never able to replace her stove or refrigerator, however.

Last week, Hudson and Vaughan along with Cook helped pick up the torch from Roberts and Welch.

They got the woman a stove and refrigerator, hooked both up with help from city firefighters from Squad 33 and gave her some food.

The woman did not want to speak and seemed embarrassed, but Hudson and Vaughan said they encountered her on a recent call and she was “down” because of her situation, so the two decided to help her out.

Also helping at the apartment last week was Cook’s colleague as a paramedic, Sara Salinas, and firefighters Ryan Cook, Chase Kovach, Zack Cook and Scott Thomas.

Hudson said they pooled their money to get used appliances for the woman, and Gene Cook said firefighters will also be delivering a table to her this week.

They all said they enjoyed being able to help someone out.

“I feel pretty good about it,” Vaughan said. “All she needed to know was that someone cared.”

“You can just tell she’s a happier person,” Hudson added.

Gene Cook said he sees a lot of people who need help when he is working in the city, and he does not always have the time to lend a hand. He added, however, this case offered both the time and opportunity to help, which is one of the reasons why he became a firefighter and paramedic.

“We took an oath to serve the people of the city, and we’re proud to take care of our city,” Gene Cook said.

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