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Sunday, June 24, 2018

Wauseon firefighter a source of comfort for girl at Sara's Garden

Friendship blossoms for Wauseon firefighter, Jason Fisher, and girl, Brooklen, at Sara's Garden (Source: Shena Thomas Cramner) Friendship blossoms for Wauseon firefighter, Jason Fisher, and girl, Brooklen, at Sara's Garden (Source: Shena Thomas Cramner)

Sometimes to get through life’s toughest moments, what you need most is a friend.

For one brave girl, that friendship was found in a Wauseon firefighter.

Brooklen is an 11-year-old girl who was born with schizencephaly, a form of cerebral palsy.

She cannot walk unaided just yet and uses a wheelchair or walker to get around.

Brooklen and her family have been going to a treatment center called "Sara's Garden" for five years now.

The facility holds a camp for one month each year for conductive education and hyperbaric oxygen therapy, which are both treatments for cerebral palsy.

This is where the family met Jason Fisher.

Jason was in charge of the hyperbaric oxygen therapy.

He called the kids back and helped them get checked in, then helped them get checked out after the dive.  

Brooklen’s mom, Shena, said that Brooklen was always scared of the hyperbaric chamber.

“You have to wear this hood and it goes over your head and is kind of tight,” Shena said. “Brooklen would scream going in and scream coming out.”

However, Brooklen soon overcame her fear, with a little encouragement from a new friend.

"I had never met her before, but something about me just clicked with her," Jason said.

He gained Brooklen's trust in just a few hours, by sticking to his word and bringing a little candy, of course.

“Jason made friends with her and whatever he said he was going to do, he did just that,” Shena said.  “He had suckers waiting for her when she came out of the dive. She no longer needed me.”

Jason was the one taking her from the waiting room, checking her in, and sitting her in the chamber.

"It was like a flip of the switch. She didn't want to have anything to do with mom anymore; she had me and she never had a problem with hyperbaric treatments anymore," he said.

Brooklen's anxiety towards the treatment was quickly overshadowed by her excitement to see Jason. 

She screamed his name when she would see him.

“He always made time for her no matter what. She knew he would take care of her as he promised he would,” Shena said. “Her face lights up and she gets all giggly when he says hi to her.”

Jason echoed the sentiment.

"I light up too when I see her. She's got a big smile and she's an awesome kid. She's come a long way. She's a sweetheart," he said.

Although Jason has cut down his hours at Sara’s Garden due to his position at the fire department, he still makes sure to stop in and see Brooklen every year at camp.

“She always asks for him at camp and he always comes through,” Shena said.

Jason responded with earnest. If he was needed, he was sure to be there.

"With Brooklen, now I try to get over there to see her for summer camp. She made a phone call to me to see her, so I made a point to see her," he said.

This type of benevolence is typical of Jason, according to his coworkers at the station.

“He has this feeling about him that makes everyone feel comfortable. We get comments about how amazing his actions are with the kids regardless of their age,” said Brittany Roof, Executive Assistant at the fire department. “Jason is just one of my role models here at the department, who stops at nothing to give back to a community that gives everything to us."

Jason’s actions prompted Brooklen’s mother to post a heartwarming message to Jason on Facebook.

“Even though she wouldn’t talk to you, you will forever be one of her favorites,” she said.

In addition to family ties, it's connections like this one that have kept Jason involved with the facility.

"It's the kids there. They all have a special spot in our hearts," he said. "It's not just Brooklen; all those kids have a special spot in my heart."

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