Canal Fulton police, fire band together so man with disabilities can go sledding for the first time

Posted at 4:24 PM, Jan 17, 2018
and last updated 2018-01-17 16:56:21-05

Snow covers the ground and kids grab their sleds to have some winter fun. But what so many of us here in Northeast Ohio grew up loving, others have only dreamed about.

At 37 years old, Patrick O'Brien waited nearly a lifetime for his moment on top of a sledding hill. 

"It always looked fun when I used to see my brothers and friends out sled riding. I was unable to," O'Brien said.

He told News 5 on Wednesday that it was well worth the wait.

"It feels like I have wings."

He didn't think sledding was possible growing up with a disability. 

But EchoingCONNECTIONS, an organization that helps to provide opportunities for people with disabilities, has some pretty special friends in their neighbors, the Canal Fulton Police and Fire Departments.

Those friends heard about O'Brien's sledding dream.

"We were like, let's see if we can do something," Officer John Barabasch told News 5. 

The special, adaptable sled police officers found runs about $800 dollars, but it didn't take long for them to get together and raise the money. 

"The police and fire department are connected, we are a really tight group, and the word spread in hours and we had the money," Officer Barabasch said. 

"The first day they brought it down to the workshop? I'm like, get me out of my chair and put me on the sled," Patrick O'Brien said.

An unforgettable gift and memories made along the way.

"We have some lifelong friends with the police and fire department," O'Brien said.