NEW YORK (KHON/MEDIA GENERAL) — A 3-year-old Maui boy has officially joined the ranks of the New York City Fire Department.
Trucker Dukes was sworn in as an honorary firefighter during a special ceremony at the FDNY Bureau of Training Tuesday.
At 19 months old, doctors diagnosed Trucker with stage IV neuroblastoma, a cancer commonly found in the adrenal glands.
He and his mother have been traveling back and forth from Hawaii to New York ever since for treatments at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
The toddler’s love for the department sparked when FDNY Capt. Jim Grismer responded to a small kitchen fire at the Ronald McDonald House where the Dukes were staying.
“I see this little boy walking at me with his eyes aglow and arms outreached, and he jumped right on me and gave me a hug,” Grismer recalled.
The two formed an unbreakable bond that quickly spread to encompass the entire department.
NYC Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro even invited the Dukes to become lifetime FDNY family members.
“We like to think someday we’ll be visiting him at his firehouse,” Grismer said.
Trucker’s dad, Joshua, is a firefighter on Maui, and his parents believe Trucker was born to be a firefighter as well.
Four-year-old River Laurence, a fellow cancer patient and friend of Trucker’s, was also named junior firefighter. He too is receiving treatment for stage IV neuroblastoma at Sloan Kettering Hospital.