On February 21, 2008, 48-year-old volunteer Firefighter Joey Turner was participating in a State Fire Academy training activity known as the maze drill.
The maze drill simulates a lost firefighter crawling through restricted passageways. Immediately after exiting the maze, he collapsed. Emergency Medical Technicians (EMTs) on the scene began medical treatment and an ambulance was dispatched.
Advanced life support treatment was provided and Joey was transported to the hospital’s Emergency Department, where he died the next day. While both State and Federal benefits had been applied for, a year had passed and still no answer on either benefit package. Unfortunately, Joey did not have any life insurance and his wife Suzanne was saddled with nearly $25,000.00 in medical bills. Suzanne had already lost her vehicle leaving her with no transportation and making it very difficult for her to work. Additionally, she was not far from losing her home.
Georgia's Fire Service had the opportunity to show our communities what we are made of, and that we truly are a brotherhood who takes care of our own, regardless of what end of the state we come from.
We had an opportunity to stand together and help Suzanne out. Our goal was twofold; first we obtained a used vehicle in good shape that was donated to Suzanne so she could return to work. Secondly, we rose over $ 1,000.00 be used to provide a tag and automobile insurance for one year. We then raised over $7,000.00 to provide 10 months worth of house payments so Suzanne did not lose her home.
This amount was above and beyond what anyone thought we would raise, and the funds came from all corners of the state. Suzanne finally received both her state and PSOB benefit packages.
She then donated all of the remaining funds raised to assist her, so we could start the Joey Turner Memorial Fund.
This fund is in place to ensure that the family of any firefighters killed in the line of duty have a home to sleep in, food on the table, and any other immediate needs met. This fund is to ensure they will not go without.