August 15, 2014 § Leave a comment

This is the story of a young brave woman in our neighborhood


On June 26th, 2014, Dorothy Chambers was on her way to Florida to see her sister when her home, located at 540 Madison Street caught fire. Her disabled husband, Al Chambers and their two small dogs were trapped inside. Lesley Pappalardo, a resident of Herndon happened to be driving by when she saw smoke coming out of the windows. Acting alone and quickly Lesley saved Al and the two dogs, before firefighters could arrive at the scene.

The Chambers are my friends. I reached their home well after the firefighters had already extinguished the fire. I found Lesley Pappalardo, standing under a tree, reflecting on the events of the night. Life seems like a movie, she said. Then, rather nonchalantly, she described what she had done. Here is the poetic story of a slight (slender & slim) woman who will never admit she is brave. As you read the poem, please keep in mind that while Lesley weighs about 90 lbs, Al weighs well over 200 lbs.


The sight of smoke billowing out of the windows

Jarred this woman out of her day dreams

Sent a rush of adrenaline through her body, mind & soul

She could have gone on to her home on Barker Hill, but

She stopped her car dead in its tracks

With no time to waste

And no doubt in her mind

She leapt out of her car

And was at the front door of the burning house in a flash

With courage in her heart and strength in her arms

She knocked on the door, but alas, no one answered

There must be someone inside, she thought

With little time to waste,

Out of desperation, she turned the knob and pushed the door

The door had barely moved, when she heard a faint cry, “help me, please”

Her hopes immediately sprung high

A big man was laying on the floor, just by the door

She will have to push him in first to open the door

With the strength of steel, she pushed, and pushed, and pushed

to create an opening wide enough

She grabbed him by his shoulders, but

found the dragging difficult and slow

With no time to waste

She jumped into the billowing smoke

grabbed his feet, turned him around

With a steely resolve and the strength of a lion

She dragged him inch by inch out the door and sat him up on the edge of his porch

No sooner was the big man safe, out came a scared puppy like a flash

I have two dogs, pleaded the big man

One must still be inside

Hopefully, he is alive

With no time to waste

The slight woman stepped inside the burning house once again

to face the thickening smoke and a fire not far away

Her eyes pierced through the dark smoke all across the room

Found the second little dog sitting 10 feet away

He was scared like hell, but would not budge

There was no time to waste

With three long steps she lunged into the fiery smoke

This little woman grabbed the puppy by his neck

And, in no time, brought him out the door

Oh, the people of Herndon, men and women; young and old

When faced with danger,

Think of this slight woman who saved three souls

By playing a game of cards with fire and smoke

After it was all done, sirens filled the air

Someone said, fire-trucks must be near

Soon, a fireman came running to the door

He looked this slight woman up and down, not once, but twice

and asked, “Did you get them out?”

She smiled at him calmly and said, “Why do you have any doubt, Mr.?”

Now, get out of here”, he said, “We got work to do.”

Ladies and gentlemen, may I present Lesley Pappalardo, her husband and her family.

Jasbinder Singh

Councilmember, Town of Herndon

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