April 1st, 2015 ~ Vol. 85 No. 13
Making a dream come true for a boy
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Matt Peterson photo
Firefighter Huxley Good, centre, works with teammates Evan Stewart, left, and Dan Cote to put out a small fire during his “firefighter for the day” experience on March 24.
Matt Peterson
Crowsnest Pass Fire Rescue was called to a small flammable liquid fire on March 24 at 11:18 a.m.
Taking the lead on this call was Huxley Good, who, at four years old, may be the youngest firefighter to pack up and rush to an emergency scene.
Donning his own protective clothing, helmet and breathing apparatus, Huxley rushed to Engine 23 and was driven around the block to the staged fire. He and his crew attacked the fire with foam and quickly had it under control.
It may have been another practice for the fire department, but for Huxley it was his life-long dream come true.
Those close to Huxley know the boy has dreamed of being a firefighter all his life but sadly, his epilepsy may keep him from his young life's calling.
"They put out fires and I like to put out fires, too," Huxley said after the fire was out and he was left with the paperwork. When asked how long he has wanted to be a firefighter, Huxley did not hesitate, "Like forever."
"I think being able to rescue people, being a helper, is something he's always been interested in," said his mom Kat. "He's been pretty stuck on the whole firefighting thing."
Huxley was picked up at his home in Hillcrest in Engine 23 and taken to the Blairmore Station where the awe-struck boy met several firefighters and participated in a ladder rescue, learned to use the Jaws of Life and extinguished a flammable liquid fire.
The whole experience left Huxley nearly speechless as he was coached by his new teammates through the difficult tasks ahead.
"I have never seen him so quiet," said Kat.
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Huxley was diagnosed with epilepsy at two years old but started having seizures when he was one. The seizures vary in size and frequency and, his mom noted, all they can do is wait and see if he grows out of it.
Huxley's practice session was the culmination of several months of work and planning, said Fire Chief Jamie Wilkinson. He first became aware of Huxley and his story during a Brighter Futures tour of the fire hall in January. When Wilkinson found out that Huxley has always dreamed of being a firefighter but is struggling with epilepsy, he knew they needed to do something.
"This little fella wants to be a firefighter more than anything," said Wilkinson, adding Kat and Teri Harrison, with Brighter Futures, started thinking of how they could help Huxley realize his dream.
Wilkinson knew Huxley's condition would create some big hurdles.
"It is going to be very difficult … I have not heard of anyone yet with epilepsy being on a fire department, especially with the degree a seizure can start and the equipment we use."
Wilkinson said he was very proud of how involved his team became in the cause — from Captain Art Hoogstraten and his wife, Sharon, searching for the proper kid's turnout gear to firefighters Evan Stewart and Josh Arnaly who crafted the kid-size air tank and facemask. Huxley was also given an old fire helmet signed by members of the department.
"The involvement from the whole fire hall has just been amazing. I want to thank everyone involved," added Wilkinson.
And Kat couldn't agree more.
"We are amazed and thankful our local firefighters would do this for him."
When asked what his favourite part of the day was, Huxley simply listed everything he had done with his new fire team.
"I liked being a firefighter," he said.
April 1st ~ Vol. 85 No. 13
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