LIVERPOOL, N.Y. (WSYR-TV)– When the Fayetteville Fire Department learned that one of their own, Nate Baker needed a kidney transplant they jumped into action finding unique ways to help him out.
“It was really a no brainer that everyone comes together to help somebody that usually on a day to day helps the rest of the world,” said Patrick Kitzel, a volunteer firefighter and employee at Halo Tattoo.
Kitzel helped to organize a tattoo fundraiser on Saturday for the department and community members to come together and get first responder themed tattoos with 100% of the proceeds going to Baker and his family to help with their medical expenses.
Baker was born with one kidney and found out last August through a COVID-19 antibodies test that it was functioning at a mere 9%.
“Thank goodness we did those labs and we started testing and you know we didn’t go any farther, my sister stepped up to be tested and we were lucky she was a perfect match,” he said. “If it wasn’t for her I wouldn’t be standing here right now.”
His sister, Morgan said this was something she knew she wanted to do since she was younger and said she was ready when the time came.
“The whole process has been surreal, it covers up any of the pain and problems we had during this and I couldn’t ask for a better group, a better family,” Baker said.
Fayetteville Fire Chief, Paul Hildreth echoed that sentiment.
“It truly is a family and the outpour of our department, neighboring departments it’s just what makes it all worthwhile helping the community and helping our brothers, it’s what we’re all here for,” he said.
Baker is looking forward to getting back to work soon, but in the meantime he’s focusing on spreading his message.
“I hope people use that tattoo not only just for my benefit, but to remember there’s always other people out there that could use some help, so that’s kind of what we’re taking away from this, it’s amazing to get that message out there,” he said.
Helping to make a more permanent impact on his community.