Edward Modeen Thanks Haverhill Firefighters for Saving His Life

Appearing before Haverhill city councilors were, from left, Capt. Richard Shellene; Firefighters Kyle Lepore and Patrick Taft; Lt. Keith Baldwin; accident victim Edward Modeen; Lt. William Cowl; Fire Chief Robert M. O’Brien; Deputy Chief Gregory Roberts; and Firefighter Andrew Hastings. (Courtesy photograph.)

Edward Modeen thanked seven Haverhill firefighters at Tuesday’s City Council meeting, saying he would not have survived a car crash without their first-rate care.

“The first nice night in spring, I decided to take my wife out on the bike. We were going to go out to dinner. About a mile into our ride, a 19-year-old kid hit us. My wife is fortunate she had minor injuries. She went over the car,” he said. “Unfortunately, I went through the side of the car, headfirst.”

He added, “Their reaction to the incident, not knowing how severe my injuries were, if it wasn’t perfect, I probably would have died—and that’s coming from my doctors.”

He said he was angry for a long time after the accident, which happened a little over a year ago.

“A couple months ago I decided I needed to start focusing on the positive stuff, and the first thing I want to do is recognize the people who actually saved my life,” he said.

Mayor Melinda E. Barrett and Council President Thomas J. Sullivan presented official citations to Lt. Keith Baldwin, Lt. William Cowl, Firefighter Andrew Hastings, Firefighter Kyle Lepore, Deputy Chief Gregory Roberts, Capt. Richard Shellene and Firefighter Patrick Taft.

Everyone in the hospital was shocked Modeen could still walk. His neck had been broken in more than 10 places and required full reconstructive surgery. Thanks to the first responders, he said he was able to spend time with his father before he passed away and is looking forward to more “wonderful memories” with family.

Sullivan said the story almost moved him to tears. “We’re just so thrilled that you did this, took this initiative. Too often, we don’t hear the good in our departments, or in our city, but tonight is a special night.”

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