Detroit Firefighter Pays Family $1,000 Electric Bill to Keep Teen on Ventilator

By Sherley Boursiquot, Epoch Times
March 22, 2016 Updated: April 4, 2016

It was a phone call to be remembered.

On Feb. 11, fireman Ryan McCuen, 35, received a non-emergency medical call from a mother whose son desperately needed to be taken to the hospital.

McCuen came to the woman’s house—where she cares for her two disabled children—and saw that her 18-year-old son, Troy, was in bed on a ventilator.

His emergency battery power would soon run out; it had only 3 hours of battery life.  

The local power company was set to cut the family’s power since they were behind their bills.

How can you deny somebody that’s on life support?
— Christy Stone, mother

According to Sunny Skyz, Christy Stone, Troy’s mother, said their electric bill has gone up threefold since Troy had the breathing tube inserted. It now takes seven machines, all in which are run on electricity, to keep the teen alive.

Stone received a letter from their doctor’s office informing DTE Energy in Michigan that “there must be electrical power in the home to maintain … life support equipment,” but because it was filled out incorrectly, DTE suspended their electricity.

“They said it wasn’t the doctor’s signature on it, it was the nurse’s signature on it. So they said it was denied,” Christy Stone said. “How can you deny somebody that’s on life support? So I did everything that I could and they just … it’s just messed up.”

He has a great spirit and handles what his situation is like a real hero.
— Ryan McCuen, firefighter

McCuen took it upon himself to save the day and paid the electricity bill in full: $1,023. He told Epoch Times, he was put there to do “what I was supposed to do.”

When asked how Troy reacted to the gesture, McCuen said the teen called him his hero. “However, I feel like he is mine,” said McCuen.

“He has a great spirit and handles what his situation is like a real hero. His mother had an unbelievable responsibility raising Troy and Tyler. It’s remarkable to watch her handle their care so effortlessly,” McCuen said.

He then called DTE Energy to explain the situation, the customer service rep promised the home’s electricity would be prioritized, according to The Macomb Daily.

The family paid McCuen back with homemade cookies, a balloon, and fruit. McCuen gave them t-shirts from the fire department.   

He also said he was teased by his fire department friends. “They gave me a hard time, but it’s all in fun,” he said.

Fireman Ryan McCuen with his new born baby girl. (Courtesy Ryan McCuen)
Fireman Ryan McCuen with his new born baby girl. (Courtesy Ryan McCuen)

McCuen is married with a 3-months-old daughter. “I just want to make my family proud of me and do my job the best I can everyday,” he said.

One local company paid the family electricity bill for the next six months.

He had worked at Clinton Township Fire Department for seven and a half years, and then was laid off during the Great Recession along with six other firefighters. They were hired back about 2 years ago, he said, thanks to a federal grant.

McCuen told Epoch Times that he keeps in touch with the Stone family via Facebook.

Since his good deed, one local company paid the family’s electricity bill for the next six months, Sunny Skyrz reported, and a generator was donated and installed so that if the power ever goes out in a storm, the family can keep the life-support machines running.

Tyler Stone, Troy’s younger brother, is also disabled. Tyler suffers from muscular dystrophy, and is in a wheelchair. The family is trying to raise $100,000 for a handicapped transport van through a Go Fund Me page.  

The family has limited on transportation options, said McCuen.

McCuen’s random act of kindness has gone viral, thus increasing the donations on the Go Fund Me page tremendously.

Last Friday afternoon, on March 18,  the website had raised a total of $26,000. As of Tuesday afternoon, the page had topped $50,375.