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 grew up."
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.
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 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 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
He closed his eyes one last time.