A Firemans Story
In Phoenix, Arizona, a 26-year-old
mother stared down at her 6 year old son, who was
dying of terminal leukemia. Although her heart was
filled with sadness, she also had a strong feeling
of determination. Like any parent, she wanted her
son to grow up and fulfill all his dreams. Now that
was no longer possible. The leukemia would see to
that. But she still wanted her
son's dreams to come true. She took her son's hand
and asked, "Billy, did you ever think about what
you wanted to be once you grew up? Did you ever
dream and wish what you would do with your life?"
"Mommy, "I always wanted to be a fireman when I
Mom smiled back and said, "Let's see if we can make
your wish come true." Later that day she went to
her local fire department in Phoenix, Arizona, where
she met Fireman Bob, who had a heart as big as Phoenix.
She explained her son's final wish and asked if
it might be possible to give her six-year-old son
a ride around the block on a fire engine. Fireman
Bob said, "Look, we can do better than that. If
you'll have your son ready at seven o'clock Wednesday
morning, we'll make him an honorary fireman for
the whole day. He can come down to the fire station,
eat with us, go out on all the fire calls, the whole
nine yards! And if you'll give us his sizes, we'll
get a real fire uniform! for him, with a real fire
hat-not a toy one-with the emblem of the Phoenix
Fire Department on it, a yellow slicker like we
wear and rubber boots. They're all manufactured
right here in Phoenix, so we can get them fast."
Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed
him in his fire uniform and escorted him from his
hospital bed to the waiting hook and ladder truck.
Billy got to sit on the back of the truck and help
steer it back to the fire station. He was in heaven.
There were three fire calls in Phoenix that day
and Billy got to go out on all three calls. He rode
in the different fire engines, the paramedic's van,
and even the fire chief's car. He was also videotaped
for the local news program. Having his dream come
true, with all the love and attention that was lavished
upon him, so deeply touched Billy that he lived
three months longer than any doctor thought possible.
One night all of his vital signs began to drop dramatically
and the head nurse, who believed in the hospice
concept that no one should die alone, began to call
the family members to the hospital. Then she remembered
the day Billy had spent as a fireman, so she called
the Fire Chief and asked if it would be possible
to send a fireman in uniform to the hospital to
with Billy as he made his transition. The chief
replied, "We can do better than that. We'll be there
in five minutes. Will you please do me a favor?
When you hear the sirens screaming and see the lights
flashing, will you announce over the PA system that
there is not a fire? It's just the fire department
coming to see one of its finest members one more
time. And will you open the window to his room?"
About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck
arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder
up to Billy's third floor open window. 16 firefighters
climbed up the ladder into Billy's room. With his
mother's permission, they hugged him and held him
and told him how much they loved him. With his dying
breath, Billy looked up at the fire chief and said,
"Chief, am I really a fireman now?" "Billy, you
are, and the Head Chief, Jesus, is holding your
hand," the chief said.
With those words, Billy smiled and said, "I know,
He's been holding my hand all day, and the angels
have been singing." He closed his eyes one last