Former Darlington firefighter, 89, gets help from fellow first responders

Former Darlington firefighter, 89, gets help from fellow first responders
Earl Wilson (Source: Kelly Dickerson)
Earl Wilson (Source: Kelly Dickerson)

DARLINGTON, SC (WMBF) - First responders with the Darlington Fire Department volunteered their time Monday to build a handicap ramp at the home of one of their retired firefighters.

Earl B. Wilson, 89, retired from Darlington Fire and Rescue after serving for more than 50 years.

"I can tell you from the police side, and the fire department and rescue squad side, it's all about helping people out," said Darlington Fire Chief Pat Cavanaugh. "These people will go out of their way to help someone else. I mean. they all took their day off today and came here and pitched in and knocked this thing out."

Cavanaugh added the Darlington department has "a big family atmosphere."

He said it was Wilson's daughter, Kelly Dickerson, who reached out to the fire department and asked for help.

Dickerson saw the finished product on Monday afternoon.

"This will mean the world to us, having a way to get him in the house because it was a struggle for him to get up the steps," she said. "I came by the very next day and the lumber was here, the very next day. It's just amazing."

Dickerson said her father's health has been declining recently. She is looking forward to seeing his reaction to the ramp because he did not know it was in the works.

One of the reasons the Darlington community wanted to step forward and help Wilson is because he is a staple in the town.

"When somebody needs something, he was always there," Cavanaugh said.

Dickerson said the Darlington Fire Department has always been a part of their family. She remembered being a little girl and spending time with her father while he was a firefighter.

"We would get in the car and ride with him to the fire," she said. "That was when you would put the blue light on top of the car and you went. We had a bell in the house. That's when you knew there was a fire; the bell would ring."

Darlington volunteers will paint the ramp before Wilson returns home.

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