Donna Clifford had planned to give a carved fireman and decorative fire truck to a Maplewood firefighter as thanks for fighting the fire that destroyed her home on Sutton Boulevard in January.
Fire Chief Terry Merrell called the gift generous and thoughtful. Since individual firefighters don't receive gifts, Merrell accepted the tokens of appreciation as a representative of the whole department.
"We'll display it in the firehouse now, but hopefully, someday when we build a new one, it will be a nice addition," Merrell said.
Clifford also gave Merrell a check for $1,500 for the Ryan Hummert Memorial Fund.
"I had sent them a thank you email, and told him I had planned to give him a donation as soon as I got some money from the insurance company," Clifford said.
After Clifford gave Merrell a check, her son Ron, who said he had experienced a stroke of good luck gambling "on the boat" the night before, took out his wallet and gave Merrell another $500 in cash.
Donna Clifford said a bronze Remington statue her husband Charles had given her on their fifth wedding anniversary was the first thing she thought of when she heard of the fire. It was on a marble table in the east part of the house.
"I called the chief the very next morning and asked if he could see if they could get it out for me. He said, 'It's probably destroyed,'" she said. She thought it might have survived because it was on the side of the house that didn't receive the most intense part of the fire.
"Next day he called me and told me it was there, and they got it for me," she said. "So that was one of my very, very dear things I got."
Charles Clifford shared the dental practice, MRH Family Dentistry, with Dr. Wayne Fisher. The dental office was on the first floor of the house.