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Friday, December 26, 2014

Santee Firefighters Make a Special Rescue

Friday, December 26, 2014

Jean Townsend (left) and Lora Morel

Every so often, a person’s entire world can change with just a tiny dose of kindness and compassion.

Such was the case recently when a group of Santee fire fighters decided they were in a position to help Jean Townsend, a severely disabled senior citizen who lives on a fixed income.

Townsend is unable to speak or walk because she suffers from an advanced case of cerebral palsy.  Ironically, before she became disabled, Townsend, who holds a master’s degree, worked for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation. So, as her illness advanced, she knew what to expect.

“Jean worked for the Cerebral Palsy Foundation for many years and was a key player in our community helping others in similar circumstances,” said Laura Morel, who works for a nonprofit  company that helps folks like Townsend who live in low-income apartments. “She has never asked for a thing –ever. So I asked on her behalf.”

Morel  didn’t know exactly who would be able to help. On a hunch, she approached Santee firefighters  because last year they had rescued Townsend after she had fallen in her kitchen and injured her head.

Sure enough, a few firemen remembered Townsend, who was unable to tell her rescuers what had happened and ended up being transported to a local emergency room.  It was later learned that Townsend, who cannot use a telephone, had to lay on the floor for several hours in a pool of blood until being discovered by her landlady.

After being approached by Morel, the Santee Firefighters Assn. decided they could again come to the rescue, but in a different way.

 Each year, the association holds a pancake breakfast to raise funds for the Make a Wish Foundation.  They used a portion of their pancake proceeds to buy Townsend an I-Pad  so she can type out messages and communicate with the outside world. They also bought her a special backpack so she can carry the device with her on her mobility scooter.

Morel is ecstatic that Townsend can now peck away at the I-Pad when she needs to communicate with people. But just to be safe, she also got her an emergency necklace that can get her help if she falls again.

“Santee firefighters do a lot more than fighting fires,” she said. “They do things for the community and are taking care of people in need.”

Lora Morel can be reached at: loramorel@yahoo.com

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