Local Heroes: Ann Korsmo & Tom Evenson


Presented to a firefighter who, in performing his or her job, acted above and beyond the call of duty.

While Plymouth Fire Department Firefighter Ann Korsmo and Fire Captain Tom Evenson regularly do nice things for others without expecting anything in return, one story in particular stands out. This story is proof that we should never underestimate the impact of a single act of kindness.

Just this past year, a Hennepin County social worker contacted the Plymouth Fire Department to ask if anyone was willing to meet with two young girls who were terrified of fire. A recent fire at their apartment community had triggered their anxiety.

Tom and Ann—exceptional firefighters, leaders, and fire safety educators—volunteered to meet with the girls, listen to their concerns, and help calm their fears.

Two years ago, the girl’s grandmother, Ayesha, was cooking dinner when a grease fire ignited in the pan.
When the apartment’s smoke alarm went off, Ayesha followed her daughter and granddaughters outside, still carrying the burning pan. When she tried to empty the pan, a gust of wind reignited the grease fire, engulfing the girl’s mother in flames.

Horrified, the two young girls ran to their mom’s aid and used their arms and hands to try to extinguish the fire.

All three were severely burned and each spent more than a month in a burn unit.They could have no contact with one another except for the sound of their voices. It was no wonder that the girls were traumatized after that harrowing experience.

At the end of Ann and Tom’s visit, they learned that Ayesha—who also watches the girls—is nearly deaf and can’t hear the smoke alarm or her grandkids if they were to call for help. Over the past year, Hennepin County had exhausted every avenue to find hearing aids for her. Ann and Tom knew there had to be a way.

They relayed the story to District Fire Chief Rick Luth whose daughter works for Sonus Hearing Aid Network. Once Sonus heard the story, they didn’t hesitate to donate a pair of hearing aids—valued at over $6,500. Today Ayesha, who never thought she’d be able to hear, describes her life as a “dream.” The girls and their mother are also doing well. Ann and Tom will humbly say they were just “doing their job,” but their numerous acts of kindness changed this family’s life forever.