Trucker Dukes splits his time between Maui, Hawaii, and New York City, but it’s not because he’s a jet-setting celebrity. The 3-year-old was diagnosed with Stage IV neuroblastoma when he was just 19 months old, and shuttles between his home in Maui – where his father Joshua is a firefighter – and New York for treatment at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.
Trucker’s dad’s job has left a lasting impression on him, so when he saw FDNY Captain Jim Grismer on a call at the Ronald McDonald House, where Trucker is staying, he didn’t waste any time introducing himself.
“I see this little boy excitedly walking towards me with his eyes aglow. I opened my arms and he basically climbed up and hugged me around the neck,” Grismer wrote on Facebook. “It was as if we’ve been friends/brothers for years.”
Grismer invited Trucker and his mom on firehouse visits throughout the city, and firefighters from FDNY Engine 22, Ladder 13, Battalion 10 hosted Trucker’s birthday party at their firehouse this year.
But that wasn’t the end of Trucker’s FDNY experience: On May 31, he’ll be made an honorary firefighter by Daniel A. Nigro, the city’s Fire Commissioner, at a ceremony at the FDNY Headquarters in Brooklyn.
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“This honor is so special to us because Trucker really thinks he’s a fireman,” Shauna Dukes, Trucker’s mom, wrote on Facebook. “We are so blessed to have been adopted by the FDNY. Time and time again, I have watched big tough men fall in love with Trucker. It’s really something special.”