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Cortland firefighters show love, support for Rick ‘Spider’ Kramer

SYCAMORE – Cortland Fire Department deployed a cavalry of fire engines and other fire trucks full of Rick “Spider” Kramer’s firefighting brothers to wish him well in his ongoing battle with cancer.

Everyone who was there gave their brother Rick “Spider” Kramer a hug. Kramer spent 43 years as a firefighter, including 12 as a volunteer with Cortland Fire Department, and he is currently the Fourth Ward alderman in Sycamore.

Kramer and his wife, Gloria, were overwhelmed and overjoyed.

“It means the world,” Gloria said. “This was our other family for 12 years. We’ve spent a lot of time with these people.”

Rick Kramer started fighting stage 4 nasophyangeal cancer in May, which was originally thought to just be congestion and earaches. It’s been tough to say the least.

“It’s been a rollercoaster of a ride,” he said. “Chemo does so much damage to you.”

Despite the rough road, Kramer remains optimistic.

“Everything seems to be working the way it’s supposed to,” he said.

He talked about how firefighters are considered family and he’s glad they’re there for him.

“They always have your back,” Kramer said. “You always have theirs. When they do stuff like this, it’s very humbling.”

The department, made entirely of volunteers, also presented the Kramers with an $8,700 check. $7,600 was raised during an Oct. 18 benefit and the other $1,100 Cortland Fire Department donated to Pink Heals Tri-cities chapter, said Curtis Kouba, a Cortland fire fighter and emergency medical technician.

“We’re all family and when someone’s in need you take care of them,” Kouba said. “It was very impressive that everyone stepped up and came to support their fellow brother in his time of need.”

The department brought seven fire vehicles full of firefighters and paramedics, including three engines, to the Kramers’ home Monday evening.

“We pretty much brought everybody with us,” Moser said. “We’re just missing some apparatus.”

Moser said although it is a sad time to see his friend battle the illness, he said Kramer gave him some good news.

“He did tell me he’s headed in the right direction with all his treatments,” Moser said.

The Kramers sounded overwhelmed by the department’s showing in front of their house. They knew people were coming to present them with a check, but knowing and seeing were two different things for them.

Gloria Kramer was able to give their guests good news about her husband’s treatments.

“Tomorrow is his last one,” she said.

She said after Tuesday’s chemotherapy treatment, her husband will have a break, undergo some tests and then sometime after that he’ll begin radiation treatments.

Gloria said her husband’s spirits are OK.

“Just seeing people support us,” she said. “Their love, their support and their generosity is very humbling for the both of us.”

Gloria said the town of Sycamore has been very generous, and both Cortland Fire Department and Sycamore Fire Department have been amazing and how they’re all considered family.

Rick said the staff at the Northwestern Medicine Kishwaukee Hospital Cancer Center has been wonderful.

“All the doctors and the nurses wore a support shirt at the cancer center,” he said. “A lot has to do with how you treat people in life. If you treat people with respect, then you get respect back.”

However, he was taken aback by the support the Cortland firefighters and paramedics showed.

“Just don’t expect it to come back that large,” he said.

Source: The Daily Chronicle

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