Fire crews build wheelchair ramp for retired state fire marshal fighting Parkinson’s disease

COLUMBUS, Ind. – Firefighters step up to help one of the own. This week is the first time in a while that 73-year-old Roger Johnson has gotten out of his home all on his own.

“(It) means a lot, a great deal,” said Johnson, a retired state fire marshal.

Johnson devoted more than 5 decades to the fire profession before battling Parkinson’s and Rheumatoid Arthritis

“You kind of think of it in a way, 'If that was me, I would want someone to help me,' and that’s how it all kind of started,” said Nick Tuttle, a Columbus firefighter.

Columbus firefighters heard Johnson couldn't get out of his home because he couldn't get down the stairs.  Within a week, first responders built a ramp from his backdoor to the garage.

“We saw he needed it done, and we just went and helped him,” said Ben Noblitt, a Columbus firefighter.

Firefighters from all different departments all worked for hours to help a man who has done so much for his community.

“To be able to get out and have the freedom that I’ve got now is amazing to me,” said Johnson.

From the firetrucks on his shoes to the badge on his shirt, it’s clear Johnson is proud of his past.  With some hardware and some heart, these firefighters did more than just a good deed. These firefighters made a difference in Johnson’s life.

“The smile that he had, that was good enough for us,” said Tuttle.

Johnson tells FOX59 he uses his ramp every day.

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