RMYC Honors Firefighter Who Found Home for Disabled Teen
April 19, 2017
Contacts: Myung Kim, RMYC, firstname.lastname@example.org, 720-360-4325
Laure Bridges, Aurora Fire Rescue, email@example.com, 303-326-8978
During a surprise ceremony, Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics and mother Karin Washington honored Lt. Tony Krenz of Aurora Fire Rescue for his outstanding efforts to find a home for Karin’s disabled teen and significantly improve their day-to-day life.
Savannah Washington, 19, was born with global development delays and requires the use of a wheelchair to manage her behavior and enable her transportation. For over a year, Karin Washington was required to get Savannah and her wheelchair up and down a flight of stairs to get in and out of her apartment. Karin often called the non-emergency number for Aurora Fire Rescue to ask for help with the stairs. Lt. Krenz found out about the predicament and took it upon himself to find a new home for them without stairs.
“Those stairs were steep and scary and made it very difficult on a daily basis for my daughter and I,” Karin said. “There were times when I would break down and cry and call the fire department for help. I met Lt. Tony Krenz a year ago and he became a friend and advocate for my daughter and I. He found an apartment for us with no stairs and it has made a huge difference in our lives to be able to get out every day.”
Karin, Savannah and staff from Rocky Mountain Youth Clinics, Savannah’s longtime medical provider, surprised Lt. Krenz during a recent commander’s meeting with a plaque, gifts, and an emotional speech.
“Tony – we admire you and we appreciate. You are a true hero and we love you,” Karin said.
Lt. Krenz currently serves as a Public Information Officer at Aurora Fire Rescue. He has been a firefighter, stationed at Engines 2, 4, 6 and 7, since 2009. He still talks to and helps Karin and Savannah and said what he did was just part of the job.
“I took an oath of service and helping Karin and Savannah is just part of what it means to serve,” Lt. Krenz said. “When I learned about their situation, I decided to find a safer, better place and I wasn’t going to take no for an answer.”
Sarah Freeman, a Care Navigator at RMYC, worked closely with Karin and other community partners trying to secure a safe and appropriate housing alternative. Despite all of their combined efforts, the problem went unsolved until Lt. Krenz got involved, committing his time and energy toward reaching a solution.
“The living situation was a huge problem and a major safety issue for Savannah and Karin. Many of us had been working for a long time to find a better home for them,” Cohn said. “Without Tony’s outstanding efforts, I think Savannah and Karin would still be struggling with those stairs. What he did really made a huge impact on their lives and shows the importance of a community working together to help those in need.”