Local volunteer firefighter receives life-changing gift

MATTHEWS, N.C. — A 63-year-old volunteer firefighter who has served the Matthews community for more than three decades is getting to experience the world like never before.

John Sowinski was born with cerebral palsy and has dealt with severe hearing loss his entire life.

“This time of year, birds are chirping, singing. I can’t hear that,” he said.

On Thursday that all changed when Sowinski received new hearing aids from the Beltone Hearing Care Foundation.

The company learned about Sowinski’s dedication to volunteering and donated the hearing aids, which cost $4,000.

Now, Sowinski can hear birds chirping as well as the sweet voice of his wife of 36 years, Sharon.

“It makes me so happy I could cry right now,” Sharon said.

John said the hearing aids will allow him to do his most important job better — taking care of his wife who is battling stage 3 cancer.

The couple said they realize every day is a gift, and they’ll cherish the present.

“I’m overwhelmed what Beltone has done for me,” John said.