Russ Harrelson of Kingston was at home in March 2016 when he thought that he was having a heart attack. He reached for his phone, dialed 9-1-1, and within minutes, the paramedics from Genoa-Kingston Fire Protection District arrived to take him on his first ambulance ride to the hospital.
Luckily, Harrelson was not having a heart attack. He was treated and was able to quickly return home. A few days later, he received a get-well card in the mail from the GKFPD.
“I thought that I was having a heart attack,” Harrelson said. “I told myself, ‘This is it, you’ve had a good run.’ I was surprised at how nice and quick the paramedics were. It was definitely not a fun experience, but it was not unenjoyable. They helped me keep my sense of humor and made a bad situation better. When I returned home, I got a card in the mail. I was impressed. I didn’t expect anything.”
To show his appreciation to the GKFPD and the two paramedics that helped him to the hospital, Jessica Parks and Megan Bacon, Harrelson attended the Feb. 7 GKFPD board meeting to hand the board a $2,500 donation check.
“I hope that the money helps them like they helped me,” Harrelson said. “I’m more comfortable knowing that they’re here to help when I need it. They took care of me, and it could have been a lot worse.”
Harrelson’s donation will help cover the cost of equipment for the new ambulance, which was purchased in November. According to its website, www.genoa-il.com/fire, GKFPD protects 7,000 people living in an area of 75 square miles. The two stations and volunteer rescue squad respond to an average of 500 calls each year.
“The donation will really help, especially since the cost of new equipment is expensive,” said GKFPD board president Tony Woodson. “The donation will allow us to keep our equipment, training and technology top-notch. Our goal is to provide the best care and help the community the best that we can.”