After being diagnosed with Bone Cancer in August, Frank Stewart McDermott decided that he didn't want to wait any longer to live out his dream of riding a fire truck, so for his 72nd birthday, Franklin Fire and Rescue made his dream come true on Friday.
Living with a disability, McDermott lived with his parents, his primary caregivers, until they passed away. He became a resident of Grandview Manor Care Center in April 2010.
Growing up in Washington D.C., McDermott lived next to a fire house most of his life. He has always watched the trucks going in and out with fascination, but has never been able to ride one. His love for fire trucks went beyond the neighboring fire house, as he has collected model fire engines and antique cars for most of his life.
Grandview Manor's Head Supervisor Sara Holbrooks wanted to arrange something extraordinary for McDermott's birthday so she contacted Franklin Fire Chief Warren Cabe to arrange a ride.
“Usually when people call the fire department they are not having the best day of their life, so it is a pleasure to be able to affect someone’s life in a positive way,” said Cabe. “It is also nice to know that the staff of Grandview Manor think enough of their residents to make arrangements for such an event to happen that is so important to them.”
On Friday morning, volunteer fire fighters Joe Suminski and David Rusch, along with Franklin's Human Resource director Ashley Hyder picked McDermott up from Grandview Manor. With a fleet of Grandview employees lined up to send him off, Mcdermott was adorned with a Franklin Fire Department Hot before being helped into the ladder truck, the newest and largest truck at Franklin Fire Department.
An avid Elvis fan, McDermott slipped on his Elvis glasses and sat proudly in the fire truck. He rode around Franklin and out on Highway 64. He was able to honk the horn and man the fire truck's lights and sirens.
McDermott's birthday wish didn't end with just a ride in a truck. Volunteers took him back to the station where the firemen, along with Chief Cabe, dressed him in full fire gear and taught him how to spray the water hose.
After grabbing a cold root beer from the vending machine, he toured the fire station checking out each engine and even climbing on the antique truck. “The guys at the station were so great,” said Hyder. They gave him a fire magazine and patches to take back as souvenirs.”
McDermott was treated to lunch at the Motor Company Grill for a cheeseburger and a chocolate milkshake, per his request, before returning home to Grandview Manor.