Thu09182014

Unsung heroes


Courtesy of Erin Volk
Local firefighters – from left, Capt. Matt James, Matt White, Justin Stockman and John Rizzi – went beyond the call of duty for Mary Jackson.

My grandparents, Al and Mary Jackson, have lived in Los Altos Hills for the past 40 or so years. They love their town and where they live. My grandmother noticed Jan. 4 that my grandfather was not responding from his living-room chair and called 911. The Santa Clara County Fire Department arrived before she could even think twice about what was happening.

While my grandfather was being cared for, one of the firefighters assisted my grandmother, who was overwhelmed by the thought of something happening to the man she had been with for nearly 62 years. In the chaos of going to the hospital, my grandmother left all of her belongings on the porch, including her purse. The first responders were kind enough to give her a ride to Stanford Hospital, because she was clearly in no shape to drive.

Now comes the part that brings our family to tears: A firefighter named Justin Stockman slipped my grandmother $40 in case she needed anything at the hospital. We later learned that Justin and his wife are expecting twins this summer. For a young man with a family to care about my grandmother’s well-being enough to provide her with that money just melts our hearts.

Sadly, my grandfather passed that day. The following Saturday we had neighbors over for appetizers at 3 p.m. to remember my grandpa – he didn’t want a service. Just as neighbors began to arrive, I saw four firefighters walking up the driveway. When Justin introduced himself, I nearly lost it. We had taken $40 and cookies to the firehouse earlier that week while they were off-duty. Without knowing about the gathering, they had come to check on my grandmother because it was their first day back and they had heard that my grandfather didn’t make it.

It was so special that they just happened to show up right at 3 p.m. and then proceeded to offer help with anything she might need in the next few weeks, including moving. I know that my grandmother will always have a connection with Justin and the rest of his crew.

I needed to write to the Town Crier because he did this without expecting any sort of recognition. Even though it may seem like a small act, it really stood out for my grandmother that day. We couldn’t feel more grateful that she had that support.

All of the response team are true heroes to us, and we can’t thank them enough for going above and beyond on the day that we lost the rock of our family. I was able to get a fabulous picture of my grandma with these men, and I know she will cherish it forever. They are our family’s new heroes.

Erin Volk lives in Idaho.

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