WATERFORD, Pa. -- Brian Ulbrich, a former Waterford resident, honored the Stancliff Hose Co. first responders who helped save his life.
On June 10, 2007, Ulbrich was riding his motorcycle on Flatts Road in Waterford Township when he crashed around 5:30 p.m.
He sustained severe injuries, including broken bones, a punctured lung, and the loss of a kidney, his spleen and half of his liver.
Family members witnessed the accident.
“Waterford firemen responded very quickly and got him to where he needed--to get the attention to keep him on this earth,” said Shannon Welsh, Ulbrich’s cousin, of Waterford.
Ulbrich spent two months in a coma and more than a year hospitalized.
After being released, he moved to North Carolina, where he currently resides. He said the warmer climate aided his recovery.
It was at his Hendersonville home that he thought of a way to honor first responders: wooden American flags.
"I bought my son one and my brother one. One day, we were sitting at home and I said why don't we by some more and donate them to our local fire departments here. One turned into seven, seven turned into ten," said Ulbrich.
It was not until Wednesday that he was able to recognize the Waterford first responders.
"This is the first day I'm getting to talk to them... at least all at once. I've talked to a few over the years that I'm still friends with," he said.
First responders who went on the call said they frequently don’t learn the outcome of those they help.
"It's really satisfying to know that somebody--they appreciated it. That's what we do. We don't expect anything out of it, but it is nice to hear a good outcome," said firefighter Ron Jagta, president of Stancliff Hose Co.
Ulbrich said, "If it wasn't for these folks here doing what they do, I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't have made it."
Ulbrich said he has purchased more than 100 pieces of the flag artwork and donated them to fire departments and law enforcement agencies across the Carolinas.
Outside of the firehouse, the American Legion Post 285 also presented a check to Stancliff Hose Co. for $10,000.
The money will pay for the purchase of new equipment, including masks with built-in thermal imaging cameras and handheld thermal imaging cameras.
The technology will allow firefighters to better detect areas of heat within structures.
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