Wisconsin firefighters spark #ShovelItForward with compassionate act

After helping an elderly man to the hospital, Greenfield, Wisc, firefighters finished his shoveling. Now others are doing the same.

Yfat Yossifor/The Bay City Times/AP
Carissa VanHoey and Autumn VanHoey, both 11, play and shovel snow from the driveway Monday, Feb. 2 in Michigan. Winter storms continue to drop heavy snowfall in the midwest and northeast regions of the US, providing plenty of opportunities to wield a shovel.

Are you a healthy, able-bodied person who knows how to wield a snow shovel? Why not give #ShovelItForward a try.

A day after heavy snowfall again pounded the US Northeast and Midwest, some do-gooders are stepping up and using the snow as an opportunity to help those in need.

On Sunday, the Greenfield Fire Department in Wisconsin sent paramedics to the home of an elderly man who suffered chest pains while shoveling the foot of snow dropped from a recent storm. After transporting him to a hospital in Milwaukee, they returned to his home to finish shoveling. A neighbor snapped a picture of the act and shared it to the department’s Facebook page. It has received over 21,000 likes and nearly 2,000 shares.

The positive reception inspired the Greenfield Fire Department to start the hashtag, #ShovelItForward, reminding people they do not need to be firefighters in order to help out neighbors in need.

“Anyone can make a difference,” Greenfield fire chief John Cohn said, to CBS News. “We’ve started a hashtag: Shovel it forward.”

Many people commented on the post, sharing how happy they are to see people going above and beyond to help those around them. One user, Karen Dohman, commented, “How cool is that?!! I love it when people really love each other like that. There is good in this world, right in our own backyards.”

Another commenter, Chris Bergst, hopes this sets a standard for others: “You men set one helluva high standard for public employees. I salute your department for service above and beyond, Greenfield is blessed to have such an exemplary fire department. Stay warm, men.”

"It's a story of people helping people,'' said Mr. Cohn, to CBS News. "It shines a light on the great work police and fire departments do each day, despite what makes it onto the front pages.”

Others used #ShovelItForward on Twitter to highlight how they are or can help others around them. Whether you are at home shoveling or traveling in heavy snow fall by car, be sure to exercise snow precautions to ensure the safety of yourself and others.

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