The extra mile
When Baytown, Texas resident John McCormick collapsed while mowing his lawn, firefighters and EMTs of Station 4 were quick on the scene, administering CPR and transporting McCormick to the nearby hospital.
But McCormick’s rescue isn’t what’s “going viral” – making headlines and eliciting responses from as far away as New Zealand. Instead, what’s making international news is what the Station 4 heroes did in the wake of McCormick’s rescue – they returned to the home and mowed the lawn of the grieving family.
"We're all fighting over who can push the mower first," Station 4 Lt. J.D. Giles told 11 Alive News.
"I just happened to get off the truck first and grabbed the lawnmower first. We were all fighting over it," said firefighter Blake Steffenauer.
After finishing the backyard, Station 4 locked the garage, put the padlock key in the mailbox, and, according to 11 Alive News, Giles left a handwritten note to Patsy McCormick that said in part "we felt bad that your husband didn't get to finish the yard, so we did."
It was a kindness, but none among the department thought that show of kindness was a particularly big deal.
"No not at all. Just something to help someone out in the worst time of their life," said Giles.
"They already got stuff they've got going on that's more important," added Steffenauer. "Yard work shouldn't be something they'd have to finish up. So we were happy to come back and take care of that."
The family – and the world, it seems – disagrees.
"It just showed me that there's still compassion," McCormick's daughter Jeana Blackford told 11 Alive News. "That people still do random acts of kindness every day for people that they don't know."
A neighbor took covert pictures of the heroes at work, and posted them to social media, thus sparking all of the attention.
"It just speaks to their character," said son-in-law Dan Blackford. "They say honor is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. That's a fact," he said of the firefighters who didn't know someone captured their gesture on camera. "They were very honorable."
Unfortunately, despite the efforts and kindness of Station 4, McCormick died two days after his collapse, of heart complications. But McCormick’s family says the random act of kindness is offering some succor in the time of sorrow.
With regard to the example set by the firefighters and EMTs, Blackford told 11 Alive News, "I think we all need to do random acts of kindness every day, every day.”
"Thank you. We love you," added Mrs. McCormick.
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