Michigan Firefighter Pays Struggling Family's $1,023 Electric Bill: 'I'm Just Trying to Give Back'

Firefighter Pays Needy Family's $1,023 Electric Bill
Ryan McCuen
Courtesy Clinton Township Fire Department

02/25/2016 AT 04:20 PM EST

A Michigan firefighter is saving lives in more ways than one.

Ryan McCuen used his personal finances to pay off a family's electricity bill of over $1,000 after responding to an emergency call at their home, the Clinton Township Department of Fire-Rescue-EMS said in a statement to PEOPLE.

McCuen visited a local house for a non-emergency medical call on Feb. 12. One of the residents, a child, needs to be connected to a ventilator to breathe, and had to be rushed to the hospital as the parents had fallen behind on their electric bill and improperly completed a medical waiver that would have prevented the disconnection.

Touched by the family in need, McCuen anonymously paid for the full, $1,023 bill.

The act of kindness didn't stay anonymous for long, however, as Fire Chief Michael Phy wanted to recognize the 35-year-old's generosity.

"His act, although anonymous, should not go overlooked or ignored," Phy said in the statement, calling McCuen a "very humble individual."

Phy continued, saying, "Although our personnel are generous as a group – recently supporting a water drive for the City of Flint and donating their time by building a handicap ramp for a wheelchair-bound Township resident, not to mention performing work for Habitat for Humanity – I have not seen an individual be so monetarily generous. I, and the Administrative Staff, am very proud of Firefighter McCuen, and are proud to be members of the Clinton Township Department of Fire-Rescue-EMS."

"I don't know why I did it, but I do know those kids needed some help," McCuen told The Macomb Daily of the selfless act. "I was glad to do it."

The firefighter also explained the situation to the electric company's service representative and ensured keeping the family's power on would be a priority.

"This might sound corny, but we are here to help," McCuen told the newspaper. "There's a lot of people who do good work: Firemen, cops, teachers, and they don't get any recognition, so I wasn't seeking any, I'm just trying to give back."

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The new dad, who recently rejoined the department after being laid off for two years due to economic downturn, said that he "could have bought something for myself, but it wouldn't feel as good."

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He added, "I didn't think of it as an extraordinary act – but I hope it inspires other people to do something similar."
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