FOX 32 News Chicago
Kankakee Firefighters are trying to help one of their own. A Firefighter who was diagnosed with ALS a couple of years ago was placed on desk duty. That time is running out and Firefighters want to work his shifts until June 1, 2015 when he will qualify for disability. The City is denying the Firefighters that ability. Here is more on the story from Kankakee.
(FOX 32 News) – “They put their lives on the line to save ours. However, one Kankakee firefighter battling a deadly disease said in his time of need, he’s getting no help at all from City Hall.
“Watching the parades when I was two or three, seeing the fire trucks go by, I’m like ‘I want to do that,'” said Kankakee firefighter Derek Hogg.
Hogg, 31, achieved that boyhood dream becoming a firefighter in 2008. But a couple years ago, his body began sending signals that something was wrong.
“May of 2012 I started getting muscle twitches. Didn’t think anything of it,” Hogg said.
When it got worse, he saw a doctor and got a shocking diagnosis — ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease — a muscle wasting condition for which there is no cure.
In 2013, the disease had progressed to the point he could no longer be a firefighter, and Hogg was put on desk duty. But that disability duty has a time limit that will soon expire, which means Hogg would be out of a job. That’s when his fellow firefighters came to the rescue.
“Thought it was a very simple idea. The city wouldn’t lose a dime,” Hogg said.
His colleagues volunteered to work Hogg’s shifts at the firehouse and donate their vacation time and sick days, so that he could stay on the payroll until June 1, which is a critical date.
A month later, Epstein left a voice message saying the city would not allow other firefighters to work on his behalf.
Epstein told FOX 32: “Sadly I cannot accommodate his request… This is a horrible situation, but I can’t look at things that way. I have to look out for the taxpayers… I have to follow the law.”
On Monday, Hogg, his family and a group of supporters went to the Kankakee City Council meeting to address the mayor directly.
“I ask that you not look at this decision as a politician but a human being. One with morals and compassion,â€ Hogg said. “I ask you mayor, will you let my brothers and sisters on the fire department help me?”…Continue Reading Here