JACKSON TOWNSHIP, OH (WCMH) — A Jackson Township firefighter has gone through both situations and won.
Morgan Gierman lost his first wife to cancer. He didn’t think the disease could strike his family again until he heard his own diagnosis.
He got better, and now he and his wife Julia and their nine children treasure their time even more. They hope others in the fire service do the same thing.
“When I started it 30 years ago, I was wanting to help people,” said Morgan.
From Hazmat situations to house fires, Morgan Gierman has helped a lot of people.
His career is something his wife Julia, says took some getting used to.
“If something was going to happen, my car would break down or the basement would flood, he was at work and it just goes that way,” said Julia.
In May of 2016, their family was shocked by Morgan’s diagnosis of bladder cancer.
“My first wife died of colorectal cancer. That put in to my mind that cancer was never going to visit this family again. I was very wrong.”
Through surgery and chemo, Morgan was able to recover. Then he started the battle for his cancer benefits under the new cancer law signed by former Governor John Kasich.
After one year his claim was allowed by the Bureau of Workers Compensation. After that, he faced a battle with his employer and ultimately that claim was allowed.
“You think it’s over and then it’s never really over.”
He says it’s a long process and he understands that the BWC and firefighters’ employers are making sure the claim is legitimate, but it can leave someone who already feels down even more defeated.
“What is concerning is, when someone or the doctors tell you, you have cancer, then all of a sudden all of the aspects of the time is more precious. Because of how cancer can go, time, life if you will is much shorter.”
So the Gierman family lives. “We are a family of faith. That’s probably the cornerstone if you will as to how this family does it.”
Morgan says they enjoy playing. “We love to be outside. We garden together we love to feed the birds and build our garden and play outside with the kids…Throw tomahawks,” laughed Julia.
Unlike a lot of firefighters we’ve talked to, Morgan says if he could go back and do a different career he would. “Getting cancer, to me, because of the fire service, isn’t worth it.” Despite this, he continues to work in the fire service. ‘There is a bit of a satisfaction of going in and helping folks in a bad moment.”