BIDDEFORD, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - A gift on behalf of a woman who lost her fight with Parkinson’s Disease will help make the jobs of firefighters and rescue personnel in Biddeford safer.
Geraldine Denyer grew very fond of the crews when they came to assist her in the final months and weeks of her life. She always wanted to do something nice to repay them. Her family made sure that happened.
“They made her feel so comfortable, even when they had to transport her”, said her husband Bill Denyer.
Before her passing in December things were tough for Geraldine Denyer. The Parkinson’s Disease she was fighting would cause her to lose balance and fall. When she did, Biddeford first responders would be there, happy to help. Once it happened on her birthday. The crews took time to sing happy birthday. It meant the world to her.
“She talked about that for the rest of her life. That really stuck with her, that was a big deal for her”, said Bill Denyer.
For the past few years she and her husband followed the department’s attempt to get safety warning lights installed across the busy roadway in front of the station, to alert motorists of the trucks and ambulances leaving the building.
“We’ve never had an accident, but we’ve had a lot of close calls”, said Fire Chief Scott Gagne.
Money for the lights have been part of city budgets, but each time it was dropped for more pressing priorities. After his wife passed, Bill Denyer was determined to get those lights. In Lieu of flower he asked for donations.
“We didn’t want the money to be wasted on flowers in the middle of winter. We said it really should be put to some good”, he said.
“Very much a surprise to us, we didn’t expect it”, said Chief Gagne.
Gagne says no matter what the call, big or small, his crews are taught to treat everyone with respect and kindness.
“We were very happy to make an impact on Mrs. Denyer and have that positive effect. You never know when you go out what will happen down the road”, he said.
When Bill Denyer passes by the lights it will be bittersweet, knowing something good is being done in his wife’s memory, but also knowing she is gone. He’s pretty certain he knows how his wife would feel.
“She would be happy, if she could she’d go down and throw the switch for it, I know", he chuckled.
When the project is completed a plaque will be attached to the pole, recognizing Geraldine Denyer and reminding people the safety lights are there, because of her. The lights cost more than $10,000 to install. Bill Denyer and his family threw in the difference from what was raised.
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