Geddes (WSYR-TV) - It takes a different kind of person to become a volunteer firefighter. The men and women who become involved in their local departments agree to go into dangerous situations without any kind of compensation.
This weekend in Syracuse, many volunteers will gather to help one of their own.
When Patrick O’Connell first walked into the Plainview Firehouse six years ago, he was determined to be the best firefighter he could be. He became an assistant chief and was named Firefighter of the Year.
But at the age of 43, O’Connell’s firefighting days are over and he can’t walk into the firehouse any more. O’Connell has ALS – or Lou Gehrig’s Disease – a disease of the nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord.
His friends know that O’Connell has always been very independent and now they’re trying to help him move forward.
The first step forward was a power wheelchair, which cost $30,000. The purpose of this weekend’s gathering for O’Connell’s friends and fellow firefighters is to raise money for a van.
The benefit will be held at Sunday, Aug. 26, at the Lakeside Fire Department Recreational Hall on State Fair Boulevard in Geddes. The event begins at 2 p.m.
More information is available at the Friends of Firefighter Patrick O’Connell website
, as well as a Facebook page dedicated to the event