B y PJ Ferguson

 

Whitehall is a community that always rises to the occasion when it comes to coming together to show love and support for one of its members in despair.

Despite COVID-19, Saturday morning was no different.

More than 25 emergency rescue and fire departments from surrounding towns gathered on Skenesborough Drive to parade down the street in support of Whitehall volunteer fireman Jim Brooks, who is recovering from a medical emergency sustained while battling a structure fire two weeks ago.

Jim Brooks

As the sounds of sirens and horns wailed for more than a minute, it’s as if Brooks heard the support from his bed at the University of Vermont Medical Center in Burlington. In a sense he did, sources say Brooks tuned into the proceedings remotely via Zoom.

For the first time in several days, Brooks became responsive Saturday morning, opening his eyes in what came as a moment of hope after his decline since surgery.

Led by Whitehall police, the fire departments of Whitehall, Fair Haven, Poultney, Rutland, Salem, Greenwich, Ticonderoga, Granville, Castleton, Fort Ann, Putnam, Fort Edward, Dresden, Hampton, Hartford, West Pawlet, and Hudson Falls, along with the rescue squads of Skenesborough EMS, Ticonderoga, Poultney and Fair Haven paraded past the Whitehall firehouse, with their vehicles plastered with signs of support for Brooks.

As a helicopter flew over the scene, the audience gathered on the sidewalks watched in awe as the spectacle of the parade unfolded in front of their eyes.

Tears were shed, as friends and family of Brooks witnessed the love for him being expressed by his community and his volunteer squad brethren.

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