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Tulsa Woman Gains Independence Thanks To TFD, Community Members

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TULSA, Oklahoma -

A Green Country woman has her independence back thanks to Tulsa firefighters and some other members of the community.

85-year-old Cora Smith and her caretaker had to struggle down an old staircase every time they left the house.

The two said the stairs were so challenging, sometimes Cora would go days without leaving.

"I can hang onto the rails on both sides and help her a little bit," said Cora. 

Smith is now able to roll down a ramp with her caretaker Judy by her side just because a simple freedom she hasn't been able to enjoy in years. 

"It was wonderful, I just felt secure," said Cora. 

On Thursday, after a year of preparation, Tulsa firefighters and Home Depot employees built a ramp for Cora.

The project was made possible through the CARES program. 

The program is a way firefighters can help give patients like Cora their independence back, despite the medical issues that may be holding them back. 

Firefighters know Cora well. Since 2016, they have been stopping by her home every few days to help Judy get Cora up a flight of stairs after her doctor's appointments. 

"The stairs at the exit of her house are over 4 feet off the ground and there are several very steep stairs that come down," said Chief Michael Baker with Tulsa Fire EMS.

"They would hold my hand so I couldn't fall," Cora said. 

In one year, firefighters had helped Cora leave her house more than 75 times. 

It's called a lift assist call and the Tulsa fire department responds to thousands every year.

“We are trying to return that availability back to fire crews so that they can be there for those higher priority structure fires, heart attacks, trauma, motor vehicle accidents," said Baker. 

The ramp is the program's biggest project yet and it took help from the Home Depot Foundation and other community members to make it happen.  

"This is a blessing. This is tremendous. Bless every one of those people," said Caretaker Judy Patrick. 

"Thank you. I love you," Cora said.

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