Penny Robertson and her husband, Pat, have a new appreciation for life. Pat, who's a retired Carson City Fire Captain, is lucky to be alive. For years during the winter months, he worked ski patrol at Mount Rose Ski Resort. In 2007, however, there was a horrible accident. "Unfortunately, I triggered a pretty big slide and I was standing out in the middle of it." Pat hit some trees, which caused severe head trauma. He was in a coma for 11 days.
Penny never left his side. The Carson City Fire Department is largely to thank for that. They arranged for her to stay in a hospital room at Renown and they did not leave her side either. "I had two guys staying there with me 24 hours a day for a few days - until I made them go home," she said with a chuckle.
Firefighters were not the only ones who helped. While Penny's primary focus was getting her husband healthy, life went on at home. Her mare was about to foal and became sick. She needed constant cleaning and since Penny did not want to leave the hospital, a fellow fire wife stepped in to help. "One of the Reno firefighting wives, who knew I had horses, volunteered to come and give my horse a bath every other day." Many other people came forward to help as well.
Six years later, as Pat still works to recover, Penny is paying forward all the good will they received – alongside many other fire wives. She is part of the Northern Nevada Fire Wives. The non-profit is the brainchild of Renee Pedrini. She decided to put a group together after one of her husband's friends was badly hurt while working a 5-alarm motel fire in Houston, Texas earlier this year. More than 100 firefighters responded and four died while rushing inside. Renee said, "I got to thinking, what if this happens here? What would we do? What would our plan be?" She reached out to local fire wives via Facebook and not long ago the group was born. Its goal? To assist firefighting families when events warrant. "Bringing food to them, helping their kids, their animals, helping with their family," Renee listed.
Having experienced a family emergency firsthand, Penny says it's a gift to have an extended family - ready and willing to step up whenever duty calls. "I'm just so grateful every day and to think of all the people who helped, it's just so heartwarming."
The Northern Nevada Fire Wives is not only committed to helping paid firefighters, but also seasonal and volunteer crews. As the group continues to grow, it plans to help the community - when needed as well.
To learn more, get involved or help raise money, you can attend a barbecue fundraiser on October 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. It conjunction with Fire Prevention Week, the Northern Nevada Fire Wives will team up with the Carson City Fire Department and the Warren Engine Company to host the BBQ. The event is taking place at Station 51 on Stewart Street in Carson. The BBQ is $5 per person and there will be raffle items as well.
You can also participate in the first ever Fire Wives Turkey Trot. The non-profit is teaming up with KAIA Fit to host a 5K run on Thanksgiving morning. Adults are $30, runners 18 and younger are $25. Kid under 5 are free. You can register on the Northern Nevada Fire Wives Facebook page or register at State Farm Insurance on November 26th from 5-7 p.m. The address is 810 N. Nevada Street in Carson City.
For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org or log onto www.nnfirewives.org. You can also make donations online. Anyone can join the Northern Nevada Fire Wives. Membership dues are $15 a year. Send payments to:NNFW204 Hillcrest Dayton, NV 89403
Written by Kristen Remington