The 26-year-old mother stared down at her 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 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 video taped 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 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 it's finest members one more time. And will you
open the window to his room?......Thanks."
 About five minutes later a hook and ladder truck arrived at the
hospital, extended its ladder up to Billy's third floor open
window and 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," the chief said. With those words, Billy
smiled and closed his eyes one last time.

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