It is said, once you become a firefighter, your family and the crew’s families become one big extended family.
That statement couldn’t ring truer for the members of the Firebrick Fire Department after one of their member’s wife fell ill.
It was a busy weekend for Michelle Stump, a member of the Firebrick Auxiliary Women’s Club, her son was getting married, she was preparing the church and even though she was excited, the pressure of a wedding the next day had Stump full of anxiety.
“I just wanted everything to go perfect for my son and his fiancé,” Stump said. “I had been running around all day and finally went to bed when I noticed something wasn’t right.”
After thinking it was just anxiety about her sons big day, Stump woke up at 2 a.m. and got out of bed where she fell into the closet, she woke up her husband, Charles, and told him something wasn’t right and rushed to the hospital. After being checked out, and nothing detected, Stump was sent home for her sons’ big day.
“I still felt weird, but there was no way I was going to miss his wedding,” Stump said. “During the wedding, I fell a couple of times and they insisted I go back to the hospital. I got in my dance with my son and saw him and his wife off and then headed back.”
Once Stump got back to the hospital and more tests were performed, it was confirmed she had a stroke and was rushed into immediate care. Stump was transferred from Southern Ohio Medical Center (SOMC) to a hospital in Columbus and for recovery moved back to SOMC.
“It has been a busy few days,” Stump said with a laugh.
With her husband being a member of the Firebrick Fire Department, news got around about Stump’s returning to SOMC and in recovery, the fire crew knew they had to do something special for her.
“She is part of this family, she takes care of them, feeds them, is always there for them whenever they need her,” Firebrick Auxiliary Women’s Club member, Rita Helton said.
When trying to come up with something to do for Stump, her husband Charles remembered her joking that she wanted all the members of the fire department to come to visit her in their fire gear. With a little bit of planning, Friday, members of the crew and their families pulled up to SOMC in two fire trucks and marched into the hospital to see Stump.
“This is the least we could do for her,” Helton said. “She does so much for us.”
As the firefighters and their families reached the second floor where Stump’s room was, they all hid around the corner and waited for her nurses to get her ready to come out of her room.
“I was wondering what was happening,” Stump said. “They came into my room and told me to get in my wheelchair.”
Stump was taken out of her room, wheeled down the hall and around the corner, where for the next few minutes, she was speechless. When she finally could speak, Stump had the crew smiling and laughing.
“If I had known this was happening, I would have brushed my hair,” Stump said.
Each member of the fire department gave big hugs to Stump and presented her with a flower arrangement that included a light-up Fire Department.
“This is perfect,” Stump said. “They smell and look so good. This truly means a lot to me. I was in total shock; these guys are amazing.”
Stump is currently at SOMC in rehab and has been making progress. She has regained some movement in her hand and legs and has started to walk again.
“I’m getting there, slowly, but I can brush my hair now and I walked 114 steps today,” Stump said.
While Stump still has a long road of recovery ahead, she shared that she knows her husband and all the crew at the Firebrick Fire Department will be there every step of the way.
“All these guys and their families are the best, it means the world to me they would do something like this,” Stump said. “I am truly grateful for all of them and they are all my family.”
Reach: Adam Black (740) 353-3101 Extension 1927
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