Firefighters give boy big thrill with visit
By Debbie Barr | Sentinel Correspondent
Posted May 30, 2003
Seven-year-old Nicholas Greiner of Molalla, Ore. spent a full week visiting Central Florida attractions last month during his stay at Give Kids the World Village in Kissimmee, which provides children with life-threatening illnesses and their families free accommodations and free visits to attractions.
His biggest thrill, however, wasn't shaking hands with Mickey or feeding the dolphins at SeaWorld Orlando.
It was a surprise visit from Kissimmee firefighters, who met Nicholas at Give Kids the World Village to make him a junior honorary firefighter and give him a ride in a brand-new firetruck.
According to mom Lynette Greiner, Nicholas has had a passion for firefighting since he was about 18 months old.
"He was just mesmerized by the sirens and trucks," she said. Not surprisingly, Nicholas wants to be a fireman when he grows up.
He was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a malignant form of bone cancer that most often occurs in children and young adults.
It was discovered by his dentist as a tumor in his left jawbone just three days after his sixth birthday. So far, he has undergone two operations to remove bone from his jaw, one of which involved a replacement bone graft from his hip.
He also has endured 10 months of chemotherapy.
Nicholas' dentist knew he idolized firefighters, and made arrangements for a tour of the local fire station in Clackamas County, Ore.
Word spread quickly about Nicholas, and a couple of local fire stations put on fund-raisers and set up a Web page to sponsor a trip for him to Disneyland, where he was made an honorary firefighter. Friends and family put on separate fund-raisers as well to cover some of Nicholas' medical expenses.
When Windermere resident Dan Middleton saw Nicholas' Web page on the Internet, he wanted to help. Middleton had volunteered at Give Kids the World, and he told the Greiners about it.
Nicholas expressed a desire to go to Disney World and, even more importantly, to go swimming, because he had been prohibited from bathing and swimming for a full year to keep the chemotherapy catheter in his chest dry.
A family vacation based at Give Kids the World Village was initiated through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Nicholas, his older sister Briana, 12, his dad, Jared, and mom, Lynette, arrived at the village to celebrate the end of his chemotherapy treatments.
Middleton had promised Nicholas that when he arrived at Give Kids the World, he would bring him a cloth badge from the Orange County Fire Department for his collection.
What Nicholas didn't know was that Middleton had arranged for Kissimmee and Orange County fire departments to greet Nicholas.
The fire departments brought an ambulance, a battalion chief car, and two firetrucks to the event. A group of Kissimmee firefighters gave Nicholas, his family and Middleton a tour of the vehicles and took them for a ride in a new truck.
Nicholas was awarded two plaques as a junior honorary firefighter -- one from Kissimmee and one from Orange County. He was also given a regulation fire helmet and metal firefighter's badge from the Kissimmee Fire Department, in addition to caps, T-shirts and cloth badges from both fire stations.
Lynette Greiner said Nicholas was completely taken by surprise.
"His jaw almost hit the floor, his eyes were as wide as the open sky. He was dumbfounded," she said.
It was the highlight of the trip for Nicholas, who said, "It was really exciting," and that his favorite part was "riding in the firetruck."
His mom added that since his illness, his interaction with firefighters has had a tremendous impact on his spirit. "He is just a tough little guy -- he goes with the flow," she said. "There were many times he was scared himself, but the firefighters that have supported him have shown him what it means to be brave and strong."
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06-01-2003, 08:53 AM #1
Kissimmee---Fire Department Grants a Wish
Last edited by captstanm1; 06-01-2003 at 10:11 AM.09-11 .. 343 "All Gave Some..Some Gave ALL" God Bless..R.I.P.
IACOJ Minister of Southern Comfort
"Purple Hydrant" Recipient (3 Times)
The comments, opinions, and positions expressed here are mine. They are expressed respectfully, in the spirit of safety and progress. They do not reflect the opinions or positions of my employer or my department.
06-01-2003, 09:21 AM #2
- Join Date
- Jan 2003
- Los Alamos, New Mexico, USA
All of you guys and gals from Kissimmee and Orange County deserve a great big vote of thanks. It didnt cost a great deal to do this for this little boy, but it sure as heck is something he and his family will always remember. It is this type of reaction to someone elses misfortune that makes me proud to be a part of the wonderful family of firefighters. Way to go guys.
06-01-2003, 11:09 AM #3
- Join Date
- May 2002
- Now in Victoria, BC. I'm from beautiful Jasper Alberta in the heart of the Can. Rockies - will always be an Albertan at heart!
I had to wipe the tears away, what a wonderful story. The firefighters from Kissimmee and Orange County have shown what big hearts they have. Way to go!September 11th - Never Forget
I respect firefighters and emergency workers worldwide. Thank you for what you do.
IACOJ CRUSTY CONVENTION CHAIR
RAY WAS HERE FIRST
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