How Officer Kuzak's dogs comforted our mother in a precious moment
Our mother was recently a hospice patient in a local nursing facility. She had always been a dog lover and looked forward to seeing the various therapy dogs that came to visit. But the most meaningful visit was the one from Clairton police officer James Kuzak, his girlfriend and their two German shepherds.
As many people know, Officer Kuzak was shot last year in the line of duty and is confined to a wheelchair. We knew they were in the building, as they had passed our mother's room. But when they didn't visit, we inquired as to their whereabouts. We don't know how far in the building they had gone, but apparently one of the staff members went looking for them and brought them back to see our mom.
With a friendly smile, Officer Kuzak introduced himself, his girlfriend and their dogs, and came into the room. Our mom was not very responsive and could barely open her eyes (we're not even sure she could see anything by then). But when one of the dogs jumped on her bed and licked her, a big smile appeared on her face. She even fed the dogs some treats (with assistance).
We give our most heartfelt thanks to Officer Kuzak. With all of the adversity and heartache in his life, he still gives to others. We wanted him to know that our mom's smile that day was her last. She passed away a few days later.
JUDY MENDELSON, JAN GROSS and KAREN STEIN
On Saturday, Sept. 22, my wife Laurie and I loaded up our bikes for an urban bike ride around Downtown Pittsburgh. An hour into our all-day planned ride, I went off a curb and suffered my first flat tire.
As we walked our bikes toward the gas station with air pumps in front of Station Square, we were blown away by what happened.
A motorcycle rider saw us walking our bikes and stopped to ask: Did we have a flat tire? After we said "yes," he got off his motorcycle, took off his backpack, asked me to steady my bike. He took off my front tire and in his backpack he had a tire removal tool, tire repair kit and bicycle pump. Within 10 minutes he had my inner tube off the rim, found and repaired the small hole and pumped up my tire after putting it all back together.
I told him more than once how he saved our bike ride day. He then shared that everything he just used to repair my bike was available at REI, also conveniently right off the bike path in SouthSide Works.
Thirty minutes later we were at REI and bought everything to repair my own flat tire in the future. If you read this and know "Chase" -- who shared that he is a bicycle messenger and employee of Zipcar -- please tell him that you read this letter. His kindness and knowledge allowed us to continue our trip and included a tire repair class for me on how to fix flat tires in the future.
Thank you again! Only in Pittsburgh would something like this happen.
Upper St. Clair
Two Sundays ago, I woke up to a flat tire on my car. I had AAA come and put my spare on so I could continue with my plans for the day: taking my kids to Kennywood. We went and had a wonderful day. On the way home, something felt a little "off" with the car. After a few minutes, I knew it was another flat tire.
I managed to get just past the ramp under the Rankin Bridge before I had to pull over. Since my spare was already on the car, I had no idea what to do.
In the meantime, a car with two young men and two young women pulled over and asked if I needed any help. I said my tire was flat. They offered to change it. I explained that my spare was already on the car.
One of the young men -- Eddie -- told me I could use his spare. I then noticed that he happened to have the exact same kind of car I did!
Eddie then changed the tire and gave me his phone number, telling me to call him when I got my tire fixed.
I couldn't believe that anyone would just put their spare tire on the car of a stranger. He didn't even ask me for my phone number or any other information either. I have since gotten the tire fixed and have made arrangements to meet Eddie to give him his spare (and a thank you gift) back to him. What a great kid!
Has someone done you right? Send your story to firstname.lastname@example.org or Portfolio, Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh PA 15222, or call 412-263-1915. First Published October 11, 2012 4:00 AM