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Former patient leaves $500K to Mass. fire department for new ambulance

Debbie Virgilio was well-known to Auburn first responders in her final days

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By Bill Carey

AUBURN, Mass. — Auburn Fire Chief Stephen Coleman said that while they frequently receive thank you cards and occasional donations, none have ever been substantial enough to provide long-term support. However, the chief experienced an extraordinary surprise when a former patient generously donated $500,000.

“This is the ultimate in paying it forward,” Coleman said. “She’s going to still be able to assist people in a final act of kindness.”

Debbie Virgilio, a regular patient known to Auburn’s first responders during her final days, was the generous donor, WHDH reported. Thanks to her substantial contribution, the fire department was able to acquire a state-of-the-art, fully equipped ambulance, and also invest in updated equipment for their remaining three ambulances.

“She was just always impressed with the level of care and compassion she received from the paramedics,” Coleman said. “Some very needed building repairs at our fire headquarters, a portion of it went to purchasing new protective equipment for some new firefighters that we have coming on, so it was really a blessing in disguise.”