Someone You Should Know: Heroes Who Step Up

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – A firefighter’s job isn’t easy. It involves interacting with people on what’s often their hardest day.

And sometimes, those firefighters have the ability to go above and beyond to help make those tough days a little easier.

Everyday, firefighters respond, it’s their jobs. Sunday, August 26th, was no different.

“The call was for a structure fire on 26th Street. When we got there, there was light smoke coming out of the basement,” said Sioux Falls Fire Rescue firefighter Josh Groen.

Three firefighters made their way in.

“We went downstairs, a lot of smoke, it was warm,” said Groen.

Warm enough to melt nearly everything in the basement.

“We were able to find the fire in the corner of the back basement. It went out relatively quick, it was a small area that was actually burning,” said Groen.

But by that time, the damage was done.

“The hardest part of any fire, is you know, being around the family, because it’s a terrible day for them,” said Groen.

A terrible day for the Martens family, it was especially rough for the two little boys who lived there.

“Being in the fire, we noticed after the smoke cleared, that it was in the corner, it seemed to be the play corner with the kids’ toys,” said Groen.

“The basement was like our kids’ play area. The toys were melted to the carpet, they were all pretty much, they lost pretty much all of their toys,” said Sioux Falls resident Jessica Martens.

A firefighter’s job is more than just putting out fires.

“The did their job, got the fire out. But then one of them noticed my boys were kind of crying, and he came and sat and talked to him for a little bit and went and got him some stickers,” said Jessica Martens.

The fire crew left the Martens home that day with the boys’ sadness weighing heavy. They wanted to give them something more than just stickers.

“We came up with the idea to call our union representative with Step Up for Heroes and asked if they could spare some money from that charity we have and do something for the kids,” said Groen.

The firefighters took it upon themselves to go to the store and buy the boys new toys. On top of that, they gave them a personalized station tour.

“It made it a little less scarier for them,” said Jessica Martens.

“A major turning point in their day, they immediately came to life after that,” said Heath Martens.

“Whatever we feel like can help, we can make that call and use it for people that we see, because we see people on maybe their worst day. So anytime we see someone that needs help, or could use help, or even brighten their day a little bit,” said Groen.

Even enough so, to now consider these firefighters their heroes.

“I just want them to feel like we do more than just show up, put the fire out and leave. We do care about the people we help,” said Groen.

Step Up for Heroes was established three years ago by the Sioux Falls Firefighters Association. It’s an annual memorial stair climb in remembrance of the first responders who lost their lives on September 11th.

The event raises money for the Step Up for Heroes charity that helped the Martens family. Learn how to participate in this year’s Step Up for Heroes by following this link: facebook.com/stepupforheroes.

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