WALLA WALLA – A firefighter/paramedic with the Walla Walla Fire Department is being recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty. On July 7, Chris McDonald was on a call regarding a resident’s motorized wheelchair that been damaged after tipping over. The main cable to the joystick hand controller had been severed and the wheelchair was inoperable, leaving the patient with no means to get around.
McDonald cared for the patient’s immediate needs, and then, knowing replacement parts for the wheelchair would be expensive and take a long time to arrive, he coordinated with his wife to deliver his personal soldering equipment to the scene. Soon, McDonald was able to have the motorized wheelchair fully functional.
Fire Chief Bob Yancey explained that soldering is a tough skill under ideal conditions, a skill most people have significant difficulty mastering.
“This did not stop Chris from trying and ultimately persevering,” Yancey said. “Chris exemplified our department’s values of integrity, ownership, professionalism, and compassion. He didn’t know at the time of the incident, but we later found out this resident was displaced after their house was damaged by fire back in December.”
McDonald is especially grateful for the bystanders and off-duty city employees who took time to stop and help.
“I was glad to be in the right place, at the right time, and with the right skill set to be able to help someone,” McDonald said. “Some people blocked the lane to protect the patient from traffic, and they all helped us right the wheelchair while we waited for the engine. It was truly a team effort.”