ORRINGTON, Maine— Lt. Tim Kenney, who has fought fires in town for more than a quarter-century, went to work at UPS in Brewer on May 1 without a worry, but shortly after arriving fell to the ground unable to breathe.
“He thought he was having an allergy attack of some sort,” Fire Chief Mike Spencer said Wednesday. “But lo and behold, he was having a heart attack.”
Since that day, Kenney, who has medical insurance through his job, has been back in the hospital several times, Spencer said.
“They put in two stents and recently put in another stent” to prop open his heart arteries, he said. “They have good insurance and stuff,” but there are still out-of-pocket costs.
To help Kenney pay for his medical expenses, the Orrington Fire and Rescue Association, a nonprofit group that helps out locals in need, will hold a benefit dinner Saturday at Center Drive School.
“If someone is burned out in a fire, we raise money to help the families,” association President Patti Washburn said Wednesday in describing the group.
The association also has raised funds to sponsor families at Christmas and to send local youth to sporting events.
“It’s all charity work,” she said. “All the money we make goes out to wherever it’s needed.”
Helping Kenney, who is a regional football and basketball referee, was an easy decision, she said.
“He’s known all over the state and he’s always there to help people,” Washburn said.
The benefit dinner also will include a raffle of 28 donated items, including a baseball signed by Red Sox third baseman Mike Lowell, a kayak given by Old Town Canoe, University of Maine football tickets, hotel rooms and more.
Kenney, whose grandfather was the fire chief at one time, joined the department as a teenager and has served more than 25 years as a firefighter, Spencer said.
“We’re just trying to help out one of our own,” he said. “I say this not as the chief of the Orrington Fire Department, but as a member of the Orrington Fire and Rescue Association.
“Every cent [raised] will go to Timmy to help defray his medical costs,” Spencer said.
There are two seatings for the Saturday benefit spaghetti dinner, 4:30 and 6 p.m. The cost is $6 for adults and $3 for children age 12 and under. The dinner will include spaghetti, garlic bread, a beverage and dessert.
Donations also may be sent to the Orrington Fire and Rescue Association, Attention: Tim Kenney, 14 Johnson Mill Road, Orrington 04474.