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Harrison Fire Department holds fundraiser for retiring deputy chief with dementia, ALS

Posted at 12:52 AM, Jan 26, 2019

HARRISON, Ohio — Deputy Chief Greg Chetwood’s 30 years with the Harrison Fire Department turned him into one of its most essential members, according to his coworkers. He investigated fires. He advised younger firefighters. He was among the first full-time paramedics the department ever had.

When fire Chief William Hursong learned the department would soon lose him to a pair of life-changing diagnoses, he wanted to ensure the people Chetwood helped during his career could help him on the way out.

The Friday night pizza-and-bowling fundraiser they organized at Harrison Bowl was “amazing,” Chetwood said. And surprising.

Hursong said despite his decades of service, his friend had never known how much his actions affected the lives of others.

“I don't think he realized what he meant to everybody in the community and everything he's done in the community,” Hursong said.

Chetwood had been on medical leave from the department for over a year when he learned he had dementia and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, a neurodegenerative disease more commonly known as ALS.

The November 2018 diagnoses dashed coworkers’ hopes he would eventually be able to return to the department. They became determined to help however they could.

They weren’t the only ones.

“The donations and the support we've gotten from the city and people is just more than we thought,” firefighter Daric Haimon said.

Chetwood, who chatted with friends and coworkers under the bowling alley’s multicolored lights, said he was sad to leave the department but optimistic about his future.

“I like doing my job,” he said. “I’d rather be back at work. (But) I just live every day for what it’s worth.”