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Peoria Fire builds new ramp for woman with mobility issues

Posted: 8:25 PM, Nov 14, 2018
Updated: 2018-11-15 11:29:03Z

They'll run into fires to save your life but last week, Peoria firefighters went beyond their typical call of duty for one local resident.

That's because every step is a struggle for 77-year-old Pat Matulis.

"It's just really hard to walk and it's painful to walk," said Matulis, who mainly uses a wheelchair or walker to get around.

Over time, nerve damage in Pat’s legs have kept her from living the life she wants. Limiting how often she can even leave her home.

"Twice a month maybe, if that," said Matulis. "But as I get older I have more doctor’s appointments to make it to so it's really difficult."

Last Thursday, while trying to get up the steps to her home, those legs gave out again.

"I started climbing the steps and my legs just gave out, and I started falling back on the pavement," said Matulis.

Pat's daughter called 911 and Peoria firefighters quickly arrived. They treated Pat, but instead of leaving, began asking questions.

"We saw the scenario, she was hurting a little bit, she was at the base of her stairs, we made sure she was ok physically and then I just started asking some questions," said Captain James Neely.

What he found out was both entrances to Matulis' home required her to scale a set of stairs.

"James said we don't want this to happen to you again and he said let me look at the backyard, he came around and looked at the backyard and said we can build you a ramp, isn't that sweet," said Matulis.

Sure enough, Captain Neely and his crew showed up the very next day.

"She needed some help and with the Peoria firefighters charity we have, we have available funds," said Neely.

So with those funds, his crew brought the materials and the muscle, taking three hours out of their lives to change one's forever.

As Pat took her maiden voyage down the newly constructed ramp those same firefighters cheered her on.

"You guys are precious," said Matulis. 

"I hope it all works out for you," said one firefighter. "Oh it has, I have freedom now," said Matulis as she hugged each and every one of them. Proving once again why we hail these folks as heroes.