Woman cooks up thanks

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, February 11, 2004

UPPER TOWNSHIP - "A 'thank you' would have been marvelous, but this is unbelievable," Upper Township Fire Chief Jeff Scott said as he watched Verna Martin carry trays of food into the fire station Tuesday evening.

But clearly, the pleasure was Martin's.

"You saved my life," she said.

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Martin, of Kitts Hill, was involved in a car crash last month on State Route 141 that left her trapped in her car, which was upside down in a creek. Firefighters had to cut her out of her vehicle and carry her through the creek and up the embankment to safety.

Last night, she came to the station to express her appreciation to Billy Maddy and Emory Barney, who waded through thigh-high freezing water to rescue her, to Cody Bryant, who used the Jaws of Life to cut her car away, and to the other firefighters who offered their assistance when she needed it most. Martin brought dinner to the department's weekly meeting. It consisted of homemade chicken casserole, mashed potatoes, green beans, dinner rolls and cherry pie.

"I didn't know how else to repay you," Martin said as she watched the firefighters fill their plates.

"We were tickled to death to death to get down there are see you alive," Maddy said.

Scott said in the 16 years he's been a firefighter, this was the only time someone had brought a tangible show of their gratitude.