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Firefighter: “We’re here to serve the people…”

Heavy snow throughout the day made the trip difficult, so he got out of the apparatus to help her across the street.

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MANCHESTER, N.H. —A photo of a local firefighter’s act of kindness during Thursday’s storm is going viral.

Firefighter Tom Faucher, who was assigned to Manchester Fire Department’s Engine 6 during the storm, saw an elderly woman having difficulty crossing Elm Street on Thursday afternoon. Heavy snow throughout the day made the trip difficult, so he got out of the apparatus to help her across the street.

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Faucher said it was a collaborative effort between everyone on the engine. His commanding officer was the first to notice she was having a problem crossing the street, and the engine’s driver positioned the truck so Faucher could safely help her across the street.

“The lady seemed to be having some trouble getting up the road,” he said. “She had stopped at a snow bank right at Elm Street. I just asked her how her day was going and (asked) ‘How much further to you have to walk?’ and she said, ‘I’m doing good. I just got to get back across the street and I’ll get on my way.’”

Faucher, who has been on the fire department for a year and a half, said he’s a little surprised by all the attention.

“It’s just something we don’t expect,” Faucher said. “We come to work every day. We’re here to serve the public. … I just told her to have a nice day and obviously if she needs anything, just give us a call.”

The lieutenant inside the fire engine gave the order to stop traffic.

“Whether we’re on duty or off duty, I assume everybody would do the same thing, help somebody out when they need a hand,” Lt. Steve DesRuisseaux said.

People watching nearby snapped a few pictures, which went viral online.

An off-duty firefighter also noticed from the window of his apartment and snapped some photographs. Firefighters below didn’t realize the moment was being captured on camera.

There was no word on the woman’s name.

WELLELSEY —The video has gone viral on the Internet:  Wellesley firefighters on Sunday making a daring rescue on the Charles River ice to rescue a golden retriever who was trapped.

Tuesday morning, Amy Kapinos, the Wellesley owner whose dog, Crosby, was rescued, stopped by to thank firefighters.

Watch video of reunion

Kapinos was walking Crosby in the Elm Bank Reservation in Wellesley when the dog fell into the water while crossing the icy river.

Watch video of rescue

Kapinos was about to go out on the ice and get the dog, but firefighters responding to her frantic 911 call told her it was unsafe.

“(I was) pretty scared, but you try to remain calm and these guys were great,” Kapinos told NewsCenter 5’s Kelley Tuthill in an exclusive interview.

Firefighters Dave Papazian and Paul Delaney attached themselves to a rope and went into the freezing water to rescue the dog.

They pulled Crosby to shore, where they dried him off with blankets and a fire coat and returned him to Kapinos.

“We did a good job and it’s nice to be recognized. But that was it. It was our job,” Papazian said.

“A dog is a part of someone’s family, so no second thoughts about going in to get the dog,” said Delaney.

To show her appreciation, Kapinos brought Christmas cookies and gift certificates for the rescuers.

“They were great and it’s wonderful. I know people say, ‘It’s just a dog,’ but it’s part of someone’s family and they’re just great,” she said.

It’s a feel-good story, but Wellesley firefighters also have a serious message about Kapinos’ initial instinct to try to rescue the dog herself.

“The reality is it always seems to make the situation worse,” said Papazian.  “You can imagine if she had gone through the water also, there would have been two to save.”

Waitress who paid service members bills surprised on “Ellen”

Published on Oct 18, 2013

She’s gone from New Hampshire to Hollywood– from a random act of kindness to Ellen DeGeneres.

Ellen’s Favorite Waitress Gets a Car

Published on Nov 8, 2013

She impressed us all when she bought a meal for two furloughed officers, now Ellen is back with her favorite waitress for a surprise that will change her life forever.

The men behind Canopy Cat Rescue have devoted themselves to helping cats stuck in trees, like this one.

The men behind Canopy Cat Rescue have devoted themselves to helping cats stuck in trees, like this one they helped retrieve in November.

Linus the cat had been stuck in a tree for five days by the time his owner, Debbie Bitts, contacted Tom Otto.

A cat named Abbey, who was stuck in a tree around Thanksgiving, was rescued just in time for the holiday.

Canopy Cat Rescue
A cat named Abbey, who was stuck in a tree around Thanksgiving, was rescued just in time for the holiday.

The Bitts family, of Graham, Wash., had tried everything to coax their 3-year-old tabby down. They left food at the base of the tree, and even called the fire department — but the ladder wasn’t long enough to reach him. Bitts called three cat-rescue services, but no one called her back.

But when she e-mailed Otto, who runs Canopy Cat Rescuewith his brother-in-law, he came the next morning. Linus was down within the hour.

“It was fast,” recalls Bitts. “Tom got up, and he was able to lean over and pet Linus. Then he said that Linus sort of walked around to him, so Tom cradled him under his arms and then, like a rock climber, he was down in seconds.”

Otto and his co-rescuer, Shaun Sears, are both rock climbers. They’re also certified arborists who run a separate company, Canopy Conservation, and both work as mountain guides on Mount Rainier in the summertime.

But the majority of what they do these days is rescue cats — for free.

At first, they charged a set rate for each rescue, but “folks would call and ask about the rate and get super depressed,” remembers Sears. Both he and Otto are animal lovers, and they just couldn’t stand the thought of cats remaining stuck in trees because no one could afford to get them down. So these days, they operate on donations.

After his rescue, Linus the cat (pictured here with mom Debbie), slept for two days.

Debbie Bitts
After his rescue, Linus the cat (pictured here with mom Debbie), slept for two days.

“People pay if they can, but the majority of folks we do cat rescues for can’t pay anything,” says Sears. “If they’re completely broke, we’ll help them out.”

Sears and Otto estimate that they have rescued about 250 cats in the six years they’ve been at it. They work in the dark, in the rain and on holidays. They’ve even been known to save up to three cats a day.

Lots of treed cats eventually come down on their own, but there are plenty who can’t. “Cats’ claws are curved, and they have very strong hind legs, which is great for climbing up, but makes it difficult to get down,” explains Dr. Rachel Robinson, a veterinarian in Redmond, Wash.

A nighttime cat rescue.

Canopy Cat Rescue
A nighttime cat rescue.

Canopy Cat Rescue handles stuck kitties all over the Puget Sound region. Sears, who lives in North Bend, Wash. usually covers the North Sound, while Otto, who lives in Olympia, has the South covered. They try to mesh their schedules so one of them is always available.

The two generally use a “big shot,” a slingshot-type tool that lets them get a weighted line up over a high branch in the tree. From there, they can pull a rope over the branch, Sears says. “We climb the rope as high as needed and then swing over to reach the cat.”

Amazingly, neither has ever been scratched during a rescue. “The bigger hazard is being peed on,” laughs Sears.

They’ve had their share of memorable rescues — Sears once saved a cat stuck under an overpass in downtown Seattle, and Otto cites a recent rescue, in below-freezing temperatures, where the cat nearly landed on his head.

“Once I got her, she was shivering cold, so I held her for a little bit,” he says. “Her body felt cold. It made me feel good about getting her.”

cat rescue

A cat rescue posted to Canopy Cat’s Facebook page in November.
A cat rescue posted to Canopy Cat’s Facebook page in November.

Sears and Otto regularly post rescue pictures on their Facebook page — frantic felines meowing for help and grateful kitties snuggling their heroes.

“The pictures inspire a lot of folks that there’s people who care enough to climb into a tree and rescue a cat, whether it’s Thanksgiving, or two in the morning,” says Sears. “It lets people know that there are folks out there willing to help out cats.”

And for pet owners like Bitts, Sears and Otto’s dedication makes all the difference.

“They don’t have to do this,” she says. “And they do it with smiles, for the whole thing. From beginning to end.”


BRIDGEWATER, Mass. —Kindergartner Danny Keefe is getting the Hollywood treatment this week.

The dapper 6-year-old is in Los Angeles to be a guest on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” after schoolchildren rallied in recent weeks to support the Bridgewater boy who has a speech impediment and has been picked on by other children, the Enterprise reported.

Video: Meet the Band of Brothers

“It feels pretty good. I’m happy,” Danny said Wednesday in a telephone interview from Universal Studios Hollywood.

Danny said he picked up a stuffed animal of Nemo to give to DeGeneres, who played the role of the forgetful fish Dory in the film “Finding Nemo.”

Danny’s devoted friend, Tommy Cooney of Bridgewater, joined him in Los Angeles.
“It feels amazing because we’re in California and we’re going to Ellen,” said Tommy, 11, a fifth-grader at Williams Intermediate School.

Danny and Tommy have been in Los Angeles with their parents, Mark and Jennifer Keefe and Tom and Corinne Cooney, since Sunday and they expect to fly home on Friday. Danny was scheduled to tape the show Thursday, with his segment set to air on national television on Friday, he said.

“The Ellen DeGeneres Show” airs locally at 4 p.m. Friday on WCVB-TV Channel 5.

Danny’s father, Mark Keefe, said his family is in awe of the national media attention Danny has received.

“It still seems so surreal. We look at each other, and we just laugh like, ‘This is really happening?’” Keefe said Wednesday. “It’s amazing. The kids are having a blast.”
Keefe said the show paid for the round-trip airfare and hotel stay for Danny, Tommy and their parents.

Danny, the official water coach for the Bridgewater Badgers Div. 5 Peewees, made headlines last month when The Enterprise reported his teammates had rallied together to support him, after they saw Danny was getting picked on because of the way he speaks.

Danny speaks with difficulty due to childhood apraxia of speech (CAS) after suffering a serious brain hemorrhage at birth, his family said.

Tommy, the Badgers’ quarterback, decided to wear a suit to school – just like Danny, who wears a suit and fedora to school every day – in a show of support for his young friend.

In November, for “Danny Appreciation Day,” more than 40 students from the Mitchell and Williams schools crowded around the little boy in the Williams school library cheering, “Danny, Danny.”

Since then, Danny has been busy on the television interview circuit. He has appeared on the national morning shows “Fox and Friends” and “Good Morning America.”