A fire chief who survived multiple strokes and spent 233 days in the hospital is being honored.
Todd Rigoni spent thirty years serving his community as battalion chief for the Cape Coral Fire Department.
He had two strokes in 2020 and was once considered brain dead but has defied the odds and is not giving up.
He spent nearly eight months in six different hospitals, unable to speak. And his family wasn’t sure if he was going to make it.
He hasn’t quit on himself, and the Cape Coral Fire Department hasn’t quit on him.
Out on the water and behind the wheel of a boat is where Todd is his happiest – with a smile on his face and not afraid to go fast.
“That would be typical Todd, haha, yeah,” laughed his wife Lisa Rigoni. “Gotta show the guys he’s still got it.”
The water may have been calm Wednesday morning but the last two years, Todd and his wife have navigated an unimaginable storm.
Lisa said “He’s God’s miracle, he really is. We owe it all to that because without that we wouldn’t be standing here.”
Since his strokes, he’s been on the road to recovery.
Lisa explained it’s “a lot of physical therapy, occupational therapy, speech therapy. We just do it every day at home and every day you see a little bit better. A little bit better. And he has no intentions of quitting.
The Cape Coral Fire Department has been with him every step of the way and when it was time to debut their third marine unit, it was only fitting Todd Rigoni’s name was on it.
Lisa and other firefighters took him out on that very boat on Wednesday, so he could take the wheel again.
From working the hose to being with his firefighter family, it doesn’t get better than this for Todd.
Lt. Jason Spinner with Cape Coral Fire Station 9, said, “This was an investment from him. Of his time, of his energy, and the passion of his career.”
Some of the firefighters who joined for the trip came in on their days off. They say it was one of those days they will talk about for years. Something that shows the impact Chief Rigoni had on his fellow firefighters.