Most people can think of a time they felt truly inspired. This is especially the case for a fire captain who was shocked to comprehend the impact a little boy would have on his entire life. At a time when he needed it most, they visited a fire station that would ultimately change many firefighters’ lives forever. The fire captain and his men were brought to tears when the child handed him a note with a request on it. It’s something nobody expected.
Keep watching to find out what happened between the fireman and the young boy. Jim Grismer had been born and raised in New York City his entire life. He was the captain of the Fire Department of New York, which was no surprise as he came from a family of firefighters. He loved serving his local community. While on the job, Jim suffered a tragedy that left him confused about what he was supposed to do with the rest of his life.
Nonetheless, he understood the dangers of his job, but this situation hit home for him. Jim had lost a good man that was on his team. The team member was a young man who had recently joined the Department. The captain had only met the new firefighter on a few occasions, but he still felt responsible for his men. The grief that Jim had felt because of the fire department’s recent loss had eaten the captain up for weeks and couldn’t seem to get himself out of the deep hole he’d found himself in.
That’s when a massive change came his way. Jim performed a surprise visit one day where he went to the scene of a mild situation and helped the team. The group resolved the issue and prepared to head back to the station. He wanted other firemen to know that he had his team’s back. Fdny has more than 100 firefighters working across the area at various stations.
Due to this, many firefighters could have been at the scene on one specific day. But Jim was in the right place at the right time to experience something powerful. A young boy walked up to Jim with a special request. He wanted to ask. It was normal for Jim to have young and excited children come up to him to see the fire engine.
However, he could immediately sense that this boy had something else in mind. This young boy was named Trucker Dukes. He had been visiting the city for a relatively long time. To the young boy, New York City was the best place to continue his special interest. He wouldn’t have imagined that his dream would come true.
Trucker and his mom were staying in New York and resided in Ronald McDonald’s house. The pair were returning from an outing when the boy noticed the FDNY firefighters nearby. He became increasingly excited. That’s when he spotted the captain of the Fire Department. Trucker and his mother had planned to head home.
When they saw Jim walking back to his fire engine while at the scene of the call. That’s when the pair approached the captain and started a conversation with him where Trucker revealed his special request. Trucker explained to Jim that he loved firefighters more than anything on the planet. His mother nodded in agreement with her son’s statement. The trucker was fascinated by the fire Department.
This was common, but Jim was surprised to hear exactly how far this adoration went. Trucker’s mom Sarah had told Jim about the different trucks and ornaments her son kept that were related to firefighting. He wasn’t interested in any other topics or toys. The fire Department was a massive part of the young boy’s life. The trucker was dressed in regular jeans and a T-shirt, but he also had a firefighter jacket above this.
Jim found this to be adorable and it showed him how many truckers cared about firefighting. Jim asked Trucker’s mom what inspired his love for firefighting. Sarah told Jim that her husband was a firefighter due to this, Trucker had grown up hearing about firefighting and always visited his dad at the fire station. This touched Jim’s heart because it reminded him of his own family. Jim asked Sarah.
Her husband was part of the New York Fire Department and he received a shocking answer. Sarah and Trucker were originally from Maui, Hawaii and were returning there in a week. This was where Trucker’s father worked. Everyone was puzzled by this because they would have expected Trucker to be in school in Hawaii. Sarah explained that he had neuroblastoma and was diagnosed two years previously.
Sarah and her son were in New York for a Trucker to receive treatment. Neuroblastoma is a rare form of cancer that typically affects young children under five years old. There’s no cure for patients like Trucker who suffer from the disease. However, doctors can manage this, which is why Trucker comes to New York City. The captain and his team were curious about why Sarah and Trucker were leaving New York City.
The trucker was on stage four and the family decided that they’d rather be together. There was nothing more they could do to help Trucker. Although Trucker’s body had endured a lot through his treatments, something else was causing him even more stress. His medication was taking a massive toll on his body. The doctors tried everything.
He’d gone through two surgeries and had chemo three times. None of the treatments had worked to remove his tumour. There wasn’t anything else the doctors could do to help him. That’s why Sarah decided it would be best to take Trucker home to be with his family. This saddened everyone.
After hearing Trucker’s story, Jim was curious to hear the boy’s request. The young boy’s request was to be a firefighter captain stared at the boy and then hugged him. The entire team was touched and wanted to do anything they could. Jim had one question for the boy. He wondered why he chose the FDNY instead of his dad’s Department in Hawaii.
Sarah had to explain to Jim that Trucker had seen the Captain in action and was fascinated by what he was doing. Jim understood that Trucker cared more about becoming a firefighter than anything else. However, the captain of the fire station still wanted to make it more special than simply giving the young boy a badge and taking a few pictures. The captain finally came up with the right plan and quickly started getting it implemented. Before Sarah and Trucker left for Hawaii, Jim talked to his team and set a date for the young boy’s ceremony to become an honorary firefighter.
Jim was shocked when he found out what guests would be at the ceremony. He learned that Trucker’s dad and other relatives were flying to New York to come to the ceremony. This made him want to ensure everything went perfectly. After being stressed for days before the ceremony, it seemed like Jim had been worrying about nothing. Trucker’s family was there to support him and Trucker’s father, Joshua, carried him to the podium and helped him recite his vow to become a firefighter.
Trucker celebrated his birthday a few days after the ceremony. His birthday was filled with the young boy’s family and FDNY firefighters. Trucker’s greatest wish had been fulfilled. It was then that the family decided to make another important decision. It was going to be challenging to reveal their decision to the rest of the family, but Sarah and Joshua felt it was best for Trucker.
They were ending his treatment. They wanted to keep him alive as long as possible, but not at the expense of living. Once the family decided to end Trucker’s cancer treatment, the family decided that they wanted to live life to the fullest. This is what was later called the Trucker Tough Challenge and it was shared across different social media platforms which showed amazing experiences. Trucker and his parents and three older siblings had their first adventure in British Columbia family was determined to let Trucker experience as much of the world as they could afford.
They took a trip to Whistler to learn how to sledge as a bigger family and contributed medical bills for Truckers’ treatment. Joshua and Sarah understood that it would be a challenge to afford all these activities and trips. However, it was worthwhile being able to see how happy Trucker was. It wasn’t long before the Trucker Tough Challenge became a viral story. The Duke family was overwhelmed by the immense amount of support they received.
Many individuals streamed and donated to their cause. Everyone was happy to see Trucker having fun. Less than a year after being taken off his treatment plan, Trucker passed away. He was in his mother’s house in Hawaii when he died. The young son had fulfilled his dream of becoming an honorary firefighter and got to spend quality time with his family.
There’s no doubt that Trucker had passed away far too soon. However, his parents had little regret. They had done the best they could and given truckers an amazing life filled with love and joy. They knew they needed to celebrate the trucker’s life, even if saying goodbye was painful. The firefighters in Hawaii in New York City were deeply saddened by the loss of Trucker.
They all made sure to send their good wishes to his family. However, some of them wanted to do more than just this for the honorary firefighter. The firefighters in Hawaii decided to come together and create a stunning Memorial mural specifically for truckers. It wasn’t just because his father was a firefighter for the Department. Everyone understood his love for the fire service.
Another thing that the fire service did was add the trucker’s name to their department’s official register. This would ensure that the young boy lived in memory within the fire service. His father took great comfort in knowing that his son’s name would appear alongside his own in the register. Trucker’s father understood that the best way he could keep his son close to his heart was to continue working as a firefighter and do the job his son loved so much. When he misses his son, Joshua visits his grave.
Even though it’s been years since Joshua and Sarah lost their youngest son, they still work to raise awareness for neuroblastoma. In addition to this, they also advocate for less harsh treatment to be used on younger children like Trucker. Sarah and Joshua were able to come out of this difficult time in their lives after losing their youngest child and work toward making life easier for others.
They don’t want other parents and children to go through what they did during trucker’s treatments, which is why they’re advocating for less harsh treatments. Trucker’s father posted a heartbreaking tribute to his son on Instagram a month after he passed.
It read, my son, I love you so much. It was a month ago today? That you left my arms and went home to be with the Lord? There’s not a day that goes by? Where I don’t think about you?
And that I don’t miss you I miss your contagious smile. Your giggle, your spunk and zest for life and just how you loved so big?