Wisconsin firefighters return to shovel snow at home of hospitalized man

[ABC News | Good Morning America]

GREENFIELD, Wisc. — A crew of Wisconsin firefighters is receiving praise from around the country after a photo of them shoveling a snowy driveway has gone viral.

The four firefighters, all members of the Greenfield, Wisconsin, Fire Department, were photographed on Sunday removing snow off the driveway of a man they had just taken to the hospital.

The man, who was not identified, had been shoveling the snow outside his home himself after a nearly 24-hour snowstorm when he began to not feel well, Greenfield Fire Chief Jon Cohn told ABC News.

When firefighters arrived at the man’s house, they found him in a cardiac emergency and rushed him to the hospital.

“At some point at the hospital, somebody said, ‘We should go back and finish shoveling that driveway so the family has one less thing to worry about,’” Cohn said.

Cohn received a photograph of two of the crew members shoveling snow from one of his Battalion chiefs.

Department officials then posted the photo on their Facebook page, where it has been liked over 20,000 times and shared nearly 2,000 times.

“People expect us to show up at fires and emergency scenes but this is the unexpected,” Cohn said. “I think that’s why it’s sort of taken on the way it has.”

“It goes back to sort of a vision we’ve created which is, ‘Do the right thing,’” Cohn said of his 50 firefighter-strong department. “It’s a culture we have here now of just doing the right thing.”

The man’s daughter, who was also not identified, spoke by phone to local ABC affiliate WISN to offer her thanks.

“They just saw that somebody needed help and they took time out of their day, their busy schedule, to do something like that,” she said. “It’s amazing. It’s awesome.”

Cohn says his fire department has chosen to use their “dwindling 15 minutes of fame” from the photo to create more positive action. Using the hashtag, #shovelitforward, the department is encouraging people to help others, whether it be shoveling snow or just offering a helping hand.

“If you’re in good physical shape and you see someone in need of help, go out and help them,” said Cohn.

The department is also drawing attention to its participation in a local Hunger Task Force by telling the people who ask what they can do for the firefighters to “pay it forward” and donate a jar of peanut butter to their food drive to help hungry families.

“I met with the crew today and they said, ‘Chief, we didn’t’ do anything differently than another shift did or would do,’” Cohn said. “We feel honored and humbled that we got the attention and can share a positive news story.”