Firefighters coming to the aid of one of their own

Region 16 Board of Education member David Rybinski talks about his cancer after a board meeting at Long River Middle School in Prospect on Nov. 29. Beacon Hose Company No. 1 will hold a fundraiser for his expenses Dec. 9 at the Beacon Falls firehouse. Rybinski has been a member of the company for 37 years. -LARAINE WESCHLER/REPUBLICAN-AMERICAN

BEACON FALLS — Back in July, David Rybinski was loading equipment on a trailer at work when he felt a pain in his upper right arm. Rybinski thought he might have pulled his tricep muscle and made an appointment to see his doctor.

An MRI revealed that the 60-year-old Rybinski had a tumor and broken humerus. He was diagnosed with sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that affects large bones and is more prevalent in children.

Rybinski said his first thought when he heard the diagnosis was to “get after it.”

“Gotta fix it. Gotta get rid of it. Gotta move forward. Got too many thing to do,” Rybinski said.

Since July, Rybinski has been undergoing chemotherapy and treatment at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Rybinski said the tumor has shrunk since his treatment started and doctors are optimistic the treatment will be successful.

However, Rybinski hasn’t been able to work since July, which has put a financial strain on his family, especially since his wife, Kim, who is a home health aid, lost two of her clients around the same time he started treatments. The couple has two children, Michael, 13, and Daniel, 10.

That is where Beacon Hose Company No. 1 comes in.

Beacon Hose is hosting a benefit dinner for Rybinski, who has been a member of the company for 37 years and is a past chief, on Saturday from 5 to 8 p.m. at the firehouse, 35 North Main St.

Firefighter Jeremy Rodorigo said he and others from the company decided to put together the dinner to help Rybinski pay his bills, as he will be out of work for another year.

“The town has always been very giving to people in need. We thought it would be nice to put on something to see if we could help him in some small way,” Rodorigo said.

The $20 all-you-can-eat menu includes pasta and meatballs, fresh Italian bread and salad, a variety of desserts and coffee. Tickets are available at the door.

Rybinski said fire departments are always there to help everybody and are fantastic when it comes to helping one of their own.

“There’s really nothing like the brotherhood of the fire department, and that’s worldwide,” Rybinski said.

Rybinski is also a member of the Region 16 Board of Education, which oversees schools in Beacon Falls and Prospect. As he spoke of his cancer following last week’s school board meeting, Rybinski was preparing to undergo surgery to replace his humerus with one from a cadaver.

Rybinski underwent surgery on Tuesday and expects to be able to attend Saturday’s dinner.

Rybinski is still facing another six months of chemotherapy. He expects it will take a year for his arm to fully recover — though it won’t be 100 percent again — so he can go back to his job as a mechanic repairing vehicles for Luciani Enterprises.

Most of all, Rybinski is optimistic that the surgery and treatment will lead to a clean bill of health.

“Hopefully, we keep [the cancer] from spreading,” he said.

The Republican-American contributed to this article.