BANGOR, Maine — When the call for help is issued by Down East Emergency Medical Institute, Dan Warner of Dover-Foxcroft is among the first to respond.
“This is the volunteer who shows up day and night for years — driving our search and rescue [Humvee], searching for lost hunters in Millinocket or along the river in Bangor — oftentimes going home with just fumes in his tank to Dover Foxcroft,” DEEMI Operations Director Richard Bowie noted earlier this week in a post on the organization’s Facebook Page.
“Dan is a veteran of Afghanistan and though disabled, he gives to his community every day, and in the middle of the night tries to help others,” Bowie said.
That is why DEEMI is organizing a fundraiser to assist Warner’s family, Bowie said.
Warner; his wife, Heather; and the couple’s 9-year-old daughter, Kaydence, left earlier this week for Portland, where the third-grader will undergo open-heart surgery to repair holes in her heart believed to be caused by a congenital condition that also affects the couple’s 5-year-old daughter, Tessa, Dan Warner said Tuesday evening.
Bowie noted that the expected costs for transportation, meals and other necessities are debilitating to his family.
Kaydence’s surgery is tentatively scheduled for Thursday, pending additional test results, Dan Warner said from Ronald McDonald House in Portland, where the family is staying.
Warner’s own physical disabilities are the result of injuries he suffered during a deployment to Afghanistan a little over a decade ago with the 82nd Airborne Division out of Fort Bragg, North Carolina.
“It was pretty scary being told at 21 or 22 years old that I’d be in a wheelchair by 30,” said Warner, who now is 33 and so far, has managed to remain mobile.
Despite that, Warner joined the search and rescue group because he wanted to contribute to his community.
Bowie said it is now time to pay it forward.
“Dan’s not the kind of man to ask for help. So we are not asking him; we are doing,” he said.
Paypal contributions can be sent to the Warners at firstname.lastname@example.org. Checks may be sent to the family by mailing them to Daniel Warner, DEEMI, P.O. Box 268, Orono, Maine 04473.