Woman embarks on long journey to thank firefighters

NOW: Woman embarks on long journey to thank firefighters


After a crash nearly took her life 15 years ago, California native Joceline Tabacco, is embarking on a journey to New York on foot to honor the firefighters who saved her that day and the fallen heroes of 9/11.

Tabacco spent Sunday night at the Porter Township Fire Department in Cass County before continuing her walk.

The journey for Joceline Tabacco started with a life-changing wake- up call long before she buckled her bags Monday.

On November 10, 2002, Tabacco’s life changed forever.

“I rolled my truck eight times, on the final roll, my cab crushed itself. Volunteer firefighters and a sheriff responded hours later when my neighbor saw me. They mediflighted me to UMC and that’s the only reason I’m alive today,” said Tabacco.

Joceline is now paying it forward with joy.

“It was time to go from a one bedroom, my car and everything to one backpack,” said Tabacco.

That was over a year ago, kicking comfortable to the curb and deciding to walk because she was called to.

“I don’t have a home base. A home base is wherever I am,” said Tabacco.

On Sunday night, home base happened to be in Union and the porter township fire department.

Devon Caudill is with the Porter Township Fire Department.

“I think it’s good that she’s doing it. She’s showing awareness; she’s showing appreciation and support to all of us. She’s going to support us we are going to support her,” said Caudill.

For Tabacco it’s the start of a journey to New York and the 9/11 Memorial .

Every night, along the way, it’s stopping at a different fire department to show her appreciation.

Marty Willis works alongside Caudill as a medic.

“It was unfortunate that what happened to her had to happen but she basically received a calling from it. And that’s kind of awesome,” said Caudill.

As Tabacco takes to the open road, she carries with her lessons from the past, calling the fallen heroes her angels, that guide her path towards gratitude and peace in hopes someone else is inspired by her story.

 “I knew I was worth something and I knew I was here to make something happen, to make a big impact.”

That impact is being felt one day and one stride at a time.

Tabacco does not have timetable of her arrival in New York but walks nearly 15 to 20 miles per day.

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