Sweet surprise

Firefighter union repairs wheelchair ramp after responding to call

Sweet surprise

HAYDEN - Trials can lead to triumph, and Sarah Broden experienced that first-hand.

When the 25-year-old wheelchair-bound Hayden woman recently fell and couldn't get back up - even with the help of her caregiver - Northern Lakes firefighters responded.

And, in the process, they also noticed Broden's wheelchair ramp needed help.

"They said, 'We'll come back and fix it,'" she said. "It was pretty cool. I didn't even have to ask."

Members of the Northern Lakes firefighter union volunteered their time and paid for materials to fix the ramp as part of their benevolent program.

The 3-year-old wooden ramp had become an "eyesore," not to mention being partially damaged, Broden said.

"After three winters, it didn't look so good," she said.

The firefighter union built the ramp in 2009.

Broden's father, Alan Broden, was a respected 911 dispatcher who died at 53 in 2009. He had a condition called osteogenesis imperfect, which causes fragile bones. The condition was passed on to Sarah, who broke her leg soon after Alan died, and then was diagnosed with a neurological condition called basiliar invagination.

About six man hours and $250 was spent on the repair project.

"We knew Sarah's dad well as a dispatcher for years and feel a need to take care of our own and their family members when called for," said firefighter Luke Michael. "Even though he wasn't in the fire service, he was in the part of the emergency service community family. When his daughter needed help after he passed away, there really wasn't a question of if we would help or not."

Lt. Fritz Wiedenhoff said he has peace of mind knowing that if his immediate family ever needed help and he couldn't be there, that his extended family would be there to help out.

"What we did isn't only for Sarah's mobility, but to help us do our job better if the need ever arises to respond to her residence and use the access ramp," he said.

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