Theft victim receives gift of new hearing aid
Cranberry Eagle
Written by:
December 12, 2012
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Sarah Fulton, left, of Evans City has a new hearing aid thanks to the generosity of Dr. R. Patrick Francis, center, of Francis Audiology in Wexford and the efforts of Evans City Officer Trina A Loesch, right. Loesch sought help after Fulton, 94, reported the money that she was saving to buy a hearing aid had been stolen.

EVANS CITY — The kindness of a borough police officer sparked a chain of benevolent events that resulted in the gift of hearing for a 94-year-old victim of theft.

Sarah Fulton had been saving for a hearing aid for a few months when, in October, some of the savings turned up missing from her purse. Fulton called police, and was lucky enough to get a visit from Officer Trina Loesch.

“She was very upset, almost heartbroken,” Loesch said Dec. 4.

Loesch and other Evans City officers investigated the case, but no leads appeared. Feeling badly that Fulton, who lives in the borough’s low-income senior high rise, had her plans derailed by the theft, Loesch posted a message on Facebook asking if anyone had any ideas on how to help Fulton.

Enter Loesch’s friend, Chris Corcoron, who serves on the Cranberry CUP’s board of directors. Corcoran took the immediate action of asking Loesch for documentation that could lead to Cranberry CUP’s assistance and placing her own message on Facebook asking if any of her friends knew of the best audiology professional in the area.

Within 24 hours, Corcoran received a response from a high school friend, Phil Uher, who said his brother-in-law is a hearing aid salesman.

That brother-in-law, Rich Filar, called Corcoran and, after hearing of Fulton’s circumstances, promised to contact some of the audiologists he visits to get some help.

Corcoran said after a few days, Filar called back with the name of audiologist R. Patrick Francis of Francis Audiology in Wexford.

Corcoran got an appointment with Francis, who pledged to donate his services, but that left Fulton with the problem of getting from Evans City to Francis’ office.

Loesch called the county Area Agency on Aging, which drove Fulton to her appointment.

“I think what really makes this special is that one person reaching out, that small action, turned into something wonderful,” Corcoron said of Loesch’s efforts.

Francis said the hearing test he did in October showed Fulton could not hear a smoke alarm, a knock at the door or the telephone from just a few feet away.

“Her hearing impairment was significant enough to cause a safety concern,” Francis said.

He said because of an existing medical condition, only one of Fulton’s ears could be fitted with a hearing aid. Francis said Filar’s employer, GN Resound, provided an inner ear, digital hearing aid that cuts down on background noise and has wireless capabilities.

“It’s a high-end hearing aid,” Francis said.

The hearing aid and Francis’ services would have cost $2,250, but Fulton received it all for free.

Fulton, who has never had a hearing aid before, said she can now hear the sermon at church on Sunday and understands the words coming from the television.

“I think it was great,” Fulton said. “I don’t know how they did it, but it shows there are good people out there yet.”

She said she saved up little by little for a hearing aid, and planned to make an appointment with an audiologist when she had enough money to pay for the apparatus.

Fulton, who was born in Connoquenessing Township in 1918 and attended the Little Creek Schoolhouse at the intersection of Route 528 and Little Creek Road until eighth grade, said she appreciated her appointment with Francis.

“He’s a good person,” Fulton said. “I was kind of overwhelmed.”

Francis said he was excited to help Fulton out, especially after hearing she had been robbed.

“It’s nice to see the community pull together for people,” Francis said. “I’m glad to be a part of it.”

Evans City Police Chief Joe McCombs said he was not surprised that Loesch facilitated the charitable chain of events.

“That’s the type of officer she is,” McCombs said. “She goes above and beyond.”

Loesch said she was honored to meet and get to know Fulton, and glad she could help out a neighbor in need.

“She’s a wonderful lady, so sweet,” said Loesch. “And it’s nice to see so many community-oriented people.”

Francis said Fulton will visit his office multiple times to tweak the hearing aid to suit Fulton’s life.