Health

Firefighter Pays Struggling Family's Electric Bill

| by Amanda Andrade-Rhoades
Firefighter Ryan McCuenFirefighter Ryan McCuen

On Feb. 12, firefighters in Clinton Township, Michigan, responded to a non-emergency call from a family struggling to pay their bills. After seeing the family's desperate situation, one firefighter decided to help out.

The unidentified parents of two disabled children couldn’t keep the power on, meaning one of the children, who requires a full-time ventilator, was in jeopardy and needed to be transported to the hospital,The Macomb Daily reported.

After helping the family get the necessary medical care, one firefighter continued to aid the family by paying off their entire $1,023 electricity bill. Although the firefighter initially wanted to remain anonymous, Ryan McCuen’s identity was eventually revealed after Fire Chief Michael Phy emailed township officials.

“This type of concern for the greater well-being of this family is where the heart of this employee lies,” Phy wrote. “His act, although anonymous, should not go overlooked or ignored.”

McCuen was laid off during the latest recession, but he returned to Clinton Township’s firefighter department after the town received a federal grant paying for his return and that of six others who were laid off. 

“I was glad to do it,” McCuen told The Macomb Daily of his good deed.

“I don’t know why I did it, but I do know those kids needed some help.”

McCuen was raised around firefighters who embraced giving back to their communities: His father is Larry McCuen, who served the Warren Fire Department for 30 years before retiring. 

“My mom and dad are huge in my life," he said. "I want to make them proud."

When 35-year-old McCuen stepped in to pay the bill, he explained the family’s situation to a customer service representative at DTE Energy. The unidentified representative told McCuen that the power going to the home would be prioritized. 

The family was grateful: The mother baked him cookies and gave him a balloon, and the father gave him fruit. 

“This might sound corny, but we are here to help,” McCuen said. “There’s a lot of people who do good work: Firemen, cops, teachers, and they don’t get any recognition, so I wasn’t seeking any, I’m just trying to give back.”

Sources: AP  via CBS News, The Macomb Daily / Photo Credit: Mitch Hotts/The Macomb Daily, Bundesheer Fotos/Flickr

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