Fireman

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Am I a Fireman Yet???

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 of 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 grew up.”

Mom smiled back and said, “Let’s see if we can make your wish come true.”

Later that day she went to the local Fire Department 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 6 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, and a yellow slicker like we wear and rubber boots.  They are all manufactured right here in Phoenix; so we can get them fast.”

Three days later Fireman Bob picked up Billy, dressed him in his 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 of them.  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 dreams come true, with all the love and attention that was lavished upon him, so deeply touched Billy, 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 that head nurse 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 uniformed firefighter to the hospital to be 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 please announce over the PA system that there is not a fire!  It’s the department coming to see one of its finest members one more time.  And finally, will you open the window to his room?”

Within a few minutes a hook and ladder truck arrived at the hospital and extended its ladder into Billy’s room and 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 asked, “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.”

Billy then closed his eyes one last time.

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Something I found

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A trucker was was traveling through rural North Carolina on I-95 when a brown sedan merged onto the highway. It weaved back and forth between lanes, causing the driver of the truck to shift into a lower gear.

At first he thought the driver was drunk, but when he came closer, the trucker saw an old man shaking uncontrollably behind the wheel.

He noticed a Citizen’s Band antenna whipping to and fro as the car jerked between lanes, so he called on the radio: “You in the brown Chevy, if you can hear me, pull over. Pull off the road!”

Amazingly, he did!

The trucker pulled up behind the car and climbed from his cab. The elderly man staggered from his auto and fell into the trucker’s arms. He poured out a story of months of fear and pain that accompanied the illness of his only daughter.

Now he was returning from the hospital where it was decided that she would cease any further treatment. In the hospital he remained “strong” and stoic for his daughter, but out on the road he fell apart.

The two men talked for the good part of an hour. The father eventually decided to share his pain about his daughter and said he felt good enough to drive home. The men embraced and the trucker followed him for 50 miles. As they drove along, the two talked together on the radio.

The older man finally acknowledged that his exit was ahead and thanked his new friend again for the help. The trucker asked if he could make it home all right and, suddenly, a third voice broke in on the conversation: “Breaker 19, don’t worry, good buddy. Go your way. I’ll see him home!”

Glancing in his rear view mirror, he saw a livestock truck move into the exit lane behind the brown sedan.

There are good people the world over. Some may be strangers to you, some as close as your own family. It helps to know that the world is full of people who will gladly give that caring touch, a needed warm embrace or a patient and listening ear. They are like angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly. Look around, for they are everywhere. And quite likely, you will even spot one in the mirror!

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