Kingston police, paramedic and fire vehicles were seen parked outside a Montgomery Street home on Friday — but they weren’t responding to an emergency, they were there as a show of support.
In December 2018, Dale Hodgins was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease — a disease that slowly paralyzes the body.
“Your brain is fine — it affects your motor neurons of your body, which means eventually you will lose your arms, you will lose your legs — there will be no movement in there. You will then lose the ability to swallow and to speak and to hold up your head,” said Hodgins.
Hodgins has served the greater Kingston community for over 40 years as a paramedic and volunteer firefighter, making many friends along the way, some of which showed up at his home on Friday morning for a visit.
“It’s a pretty devastating diagnosis, because one day you’re a healthy person and the next day you have this terminal disease, and you have no control over it,” said Julie Socha, a paramedic friend who was visiting Hodgins on Friday.
During Hodgins’ years of services, he saved many lives. In one instance, he and another paramedic pulled a man to safety after he crashed a car into a home, cutting a major gas line — for that, he won a medal of bravery.
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His old partner during his time with the Frontenac paramedics Joe Ferguson said that Hodgins was special because had the ability to make people feel at ease even in the most tense and stressful situations.
Hodgins’ lasting influence on the people in Kingston has prompted his friends to organize a fundraiser to help raise money for ALS research, which Hodgins appreciates since ALS research doesn’t currently receive government funding.
“We’ve decided to rally around him because of the support that he’s given us throughout the years — not only to us but the community of Kingston,” said Glenn Roy, Kingston Fire and Rescue district chief. “So the best thing we could do to show him our respect was to support him like he’s always backed us.”