CLINTON, Tenn. (WATE) — Dozens of Anderson County first responders came out to surprise a 5-year-old boy with spina bifida Tuesday night.
Jamie Brewster, the Briceville Volunteer Fire Department chief, met Levi Moore at physical therapy, and he said the 5-year-old instantly bonded with him.
“He’s just something else man,” Brewster said. “He comes in there every Tuesday, he just wheels in there, his dad don’t even push him. He’s just eager to get in there and start his therapy. And he was just talking up a storm to me. Just, wanting to be a fireman, wanting to be a train engineer, talking about the police department.”
One day, there was something Levi said to Brewster that just broke his heart. It was something related to his condition.
“He melted my heart, cause he looked up at me, just kind of gave me that sad look like, ‘Hi, I’ll never be a firemen in this wheelchair.’ I thought we gotta do something for this little feller,” Brewster said.
On top of that, he learned the Moore Family missed the Clinton Christmas parade. So the idea to give Levi and his family a first responder parade was formed.
Brewster spread the word, but he had no idea the community would come out in such huge force.
“It’s a great community in Anderson County,” Brewster said. “I mean, when there’s something that needs to be done, we work together and we get it done.”
Just about every volunteer fire department in the county came for the parade.
Anderson County Sheriff Russell Barker also made an appearance. He was in one of the very first vehicles pulling up to the house where Levi and his family were.
Barker said he had to be a part of it. He had known Levi’s grandfather for years, and he knew the kid really tugged on Brewster’s heartstrings.
“He’s a firefighter,” Barker said of Brewster. “He has seen quite a bit out there. For him to be moved to the point that he organized this, it just speaks volumes about his interaction with Levi.”
Being from Anderson County, Barker wasn’t at all surprised at the turnout. Although, he said the sight of all these tow truck drivers, law enforcement officers and firefighters was something special.
“Just the sheer number of participants that came out on a night like this to do it,” Barker said. “It just absolutely made me incredibly proud to be from Anderson County and to be serving as the sheriff.”
The night was solely to give to a kid who looks up to first responders and isn’t sure if he’ll ever be able to be one of them one day.
Even Sheriff Barker was charmed by Levi.
Anderson County Commissioner Shane Vowell came out to the parade as well.
He also said it’s great for the community to see first responders help families out in unique ways like they did Tuesday night.
“We’re not just fighting fires,” Vowell said. “We’re not just answering calls and enforcing the laws. We are part of the community and the parade response tonight is a testament to that.”
The 5-year-old’s facial expression as he watched truck after truck roll by was also a testament as to why they come out and surprise kids like Levi.
“I was not disappointed at all. The face lit up like a light,” Vowell said.
Not only did the first responders host the parade, but many of them dropped off gifts for Levi and his twin brother Lincoln.
“I can count one, two, three, four, five, six,” Levi counted as gifts kept coming.
But, his favorite gift: riding in the fire truck with his twin and parents. He said he honked the horn at least 10 times.
“When I honked it, the last time I was letting you know when I was coming back,” Levi said.
The night was one to remember for all who were there. Levi will be able to remember the special parade with patches and his honorary firefighter certificate.
Sheriff Barker and Chief Brewster will remember it with their drawings from Levi.
“Little Levi, he drew me a little picture and gave it to me. I’ll take it home and frame it and hang it on the wall,” Brewster said.
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Levi’s parents, Travis and Nichole Moore, couldn’t believe the turnout from the first responders. They only expected a few trucks.
They couldn’t be more happy for Levi though. They said they try to give him as much of a normal life as they can, but that doesn’t work in every situation.
Recently, his twin Lincoln started playing baseball and they knew Levi felt left out. But, the parade of first responders will give him something to remember and hold onto for a long time.
Levi, of course, hopes it’s a new family tradition.
“I want us to do it again next year. Next Christmas,” Levi said.