An elderly township resident was so determined to participate in the democratic process that he voted from a stretcher at Brookline Fire House.
Charles Gorby, 83, was returning home by ambulance Tuesday from a two-week hospital stay when he realized he would have difficulty getting to the polls.
Gorby, who has never missed an election, including primaries, asked drivers if they could possibly stop at the fire house, about one block from his residence.
Because they were in routine transit and not making emergency calls drivers said they would try to accommodate Gorby’s request, provided they would not have to wait. “I agreed with that,” Gorby said.
Fortunately, “poll workers at Brookline have always been extremely kind, very nice and accommodating. They could not have done more to let me in to vote.”
Democratic Inspector of Elections Mary Ann Waters said workers had the doors to the fire house opened.
“I went right in on a stretcher and the poll worker pulled the curtain back so I could get in,” Gorby said. “My feet were sticking out, but who cares. It didn’t take any time at all and I was so pleased that I was able to continue to participate in what I think is every citizen’s responsibility.”
Said Gorby, “Voting is the least you can do to participate in your government. If you don’t bother to do that, you really shouldn’t complain about anything that happens.”
Too often in the U.S., the person who wins is elected by the majority of a small number who vote, Gorby said.
“It’s very staggering when you see the percentage of people who vote and what percentage of that percent actually voted for the winning candidate,” said Gorby. “I feel it’s my responsibility to go, find out what I can and make a selection.”
“I think it’s an obligation. There are problems, but in a country like ours we can still vote.”
Originally from West Philadelphia, Gorby worked as a pharmacist in Yeadon to earn tuition money for medical school. Gorby obtained a degree in medicine and a Ph.D. in pharmacology from Jefferson Medical College before establishing a practice in Havertown, where he has resided for 50 years. He has three children and seven grandchildren. Gorby said that if not for illness, “I’d still be out there with a stethoscope.”