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Sunnyvale 1st Responders Lift Up Fallen Man By Building New Wheelchair Ramp

SUNNYVALE (KPIX 5) -- When a Sunnyvale man took a fall on Monday, he had no idea that the firefighters who responded would help lift him up in more ways than one.

They noticed Ken Peterson's aging wheelchair ramp when they responded to his home after a fall that left Peterson with bruises, a swollen hand and a need for assistance to stand back up.

"During the course of that call, one of the paramedics stepped through the existing ramp," said Sunnyvale Public Safety Officer Dominic Bitonti.

sunnyvale DPS builds wheelchair ramp
Sunnyvale DPS builds wheelchair ramp for fallen man (Photo: Sunnyvale DPS)

"The guy called my wife and says, 'We'd like to come and build you a ramp for you,'" said Peterson. "Oh, it's beautiful, perfect."

Peterson's wheelchair ramp had definitely seen better days. The weather, mostly the rain, had caused the wood to rot and left it with holes. Peterson said he had patched it up, but couldn't afford to get it rebuilt or physically rebuild it himself.

"After we cleared the call, we thought it was best to repair the ramp instead of keeping it in the condition that it was in," Bitonti said.

So he and several other officers and firefighters decided to get the supplies they needed and returned to Peterson's home the same day to rebuild the ramp.

It took less than an hour to tear out the old ramp and put in a new one that Peterson will use for years to come. Peterson, who has lived in the home for many years, became emotional when recounting the random act of kindness from the first responders he'd just met.

Bitonti said they built the ramp to help Peterson since he uses the ramp everyday.

"We don't do the job for recognition, but it just feels good to do it," he said.

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