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Thread: 'Miracle man' on his way home

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    'Miracle man' on his way home

    'Miracle man' on his way home

    By SULAIMAN BEG
    sbeg@thejournalnews.com
    THE JOURNAL NEWS


    Timeline

    Jan. 23: Jeffery Cool of Garnerville and five other FDNY firefighters are forced to jump from a fourth-floor window of a burning Bronx building. Two firefighters, including John Bellew of Pearl River, are killed. Cool is taken to St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx.

    Feb. 18: After numerous operations, Cool is released from St. Barnabas and transferred to Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw.

    March 31: Cool takes his first steps since his critical injury.

    Tomorrow: Cool is expected to be released at 10 a.m. from Helen Hayes Hospital.

    (Original publication: April 15, 2005)

    Since he arrived at Helen Hayes Hospital in February, Jeffery Cool has wanted to get home as soon as possible.

    It's fitting that the Garnerville man will be released from the West Haverstraw hospital a week before his originally scheduled release.

    "He's a miracle man," said Jill, his wife of 10 years. "He still has a long road ahead of him. But he's halfway there. He's home."

    Cool, 38, a 13-year member of the New York City Fire Department and a volunteer with the West Haverstraw Fire Department, was critically injured when he and five other city firefighters were forced to jump four stories to escape flames from a burning Bronx building. Two of the firefighters died, including John Bellew of Pearl River.

    After undergoing numerous operations at St. Barnabas Hospital in the Bronx, Cool, a three-year member of FDNY Rescue 3, was transferred to Helen Hayes Hospital, where he began an arduous rehabilitation. He has since been home for Easter and was allowed to spend days at home on weekends.

    Starting next week, he will begin a three-day-a-week outpatient physical and occupational therapy program at the hospital, said Dr. Mary Guarracini, the medical director of the hospital's subacute unit, where Cool is staying.

    "I am surprised that he has improved so quickly," Guarracini said. "He started walking, and he just took off."

    Guarracini said Cool's "rapid improvement" began shortly after he was able to bear weight on both legs. Cool took his first steps March 31, about five weeks after he arrived at the hospital. She said his improvement was so fast primarily because he did not suffer neurological damage.

    Even so, she said, he achieved all this after being confined to bed for nearly five weeks.

    Guarracini said that because of fractures in his shoulder blades, his left shoulder was still weak and Cool fatigued very easily.

    "He's been very determined," she said. Cool often spoke to her about attending his sons' hockey and baseball games. "His motivating factor was to get home to his sons and family. He really pushed himself as soon as he was able to start walking."

    With aid from a walker and a wheelchair, he officially opened the first game of the North Rockland Youth Hockey Association's Roller Hockey Club on Saturday.

    Jill Cool said it was very emotional when her husband took his first steps.

    "He never thought he'd be able to walk again," she said.

    "But after that he just wanted to get up and run with his boys," she said. The couple has two sons, Jeffery Jr., 8, and Dylan, 5. "And he realized that day will come."

    She said she looked forward to her husband's return to their Larkin Lane home, which would bring a sense of normalcy back to the close-knit family.

    "I can't wait, you know, and get that companionship back," Jill Cool said. "All the special things we did, unfortunately, had to be put on hold for a while."

    Cool's younger brother, Jim, said Jeffery talked every day about how he couldn't wait to get home "and get back to normal."

    "I'm proud of him," he said. "He fought hard. He got out of St. Barnabas sooner than expected and now he's out of Helen Hayes sooner than he was scheduled. It was all because of him fighting hard."

    Tim Wren, a member of Rescue 3 and a Hillcrest volunteer firefighter, said Cool's journey from stretcher to wheelchair, to walker to cane, and finally to walking unassisted to the nurse's station about 20 feet from his room was a testament to his strength and determination.

    "Every week he seemed to get better and better," said Wren, who has known Cool for nearly a decade. "He has the right attitude. He has a lot to live for, and he realizes that."

    http://www.thejournalnews.com/apps/p...09/1019/NEWS03

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    Injured Bravest exults as he's sent home

    Injured Bravest exults as he's sent home

    BY PATRICE O'SHAUGHNESSY and CARRIE MELAGO
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITERS

    Just hours after being released from a physical rehabilitation center, Firefighter Jeffery Cool was cheering on his fellow Bravest at a charity hockey game yesterday.

    Cool, who suffered critical injuries when he plunged 50 feet from a burning Bronx building, was pushed in a wheelchair onto the ice at Nassau Coliseum before the city's Fire and Police departments faced off. Then, he stood up on his own as the national anthem was played.

    "We're just so happy, but I do have a long road ahead," Cool said.

    That morning, he had walked out of the Helen Hayes Hospital in West Haverstraw, Rockland County, leaning on a cane, as his family and colleagues from Rescue 3 applauded wildly.

    The firefighter's emotional homecoming came a week earlier than expected. Cool began walking on his own for the first time last week, prompting physicians to push up his discharge date.

    Eager to get home to his wife, Jill, and sons, Jeffery, 8, and Dylan, 5, Cool took his doctors up on the offer. And with bagpipers playing and his colleagues cheering, Cool climbed into an FDNY van headed for his home in Garnerville.

    "I'm almost as happy today as I was the day I brought him home from the hospital 38 years ago," Cool's overjoyed mother, Vada Cool, said.

    Cool's release came just three months after the Jan. 23 blaze that killed two city firefighters - Lt. Curtis Meyran and John Bellew - and seriously injured Cool and three others.

    Cool spent three weeks in a coma, needed 46 pints of blood and underwent numerous surgeries after he lost hold of a rope leading down from the building's fourth-floor window.

    The road to recovery has not been easy. Cool lost 35 pounds following the blaze and has endured four hours of grueling physical therapy every day since. He'll continue receiving therapy three days a week for the next year.

    But yesterday, he simply enjoyed himself. He reacquainted himself with neighbors, relished the FDNY's 5-3 victory at the hockey game and savored life at home.

    "I'm sleeping in tomorrow and just relaxing," he said. "It will be great to sleep in my bed tonight."

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/stor...p-257477c.html




    Hero Firefighter Jeffery Cool (r.) is greeted by FDNY Chief Salvatore Cassano before FDNY vs. NYPD hockey game.

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