Twenty-year-old Jordan Sammarco has been disabled since birth and has dreamed of riding in a fire truck, and Thursday night, that dream came true.
Although Jordan's parents have never been certain of a diagnosis, they believe he has cerebral palsy - but they know how much he loves fire trucks and the Tyler Fire Department.
"I like the way they save people's lives," he told me.
"That's a pretty big deal, huh?" I asked him.
"Yes it is, my friend, Lauren," he said.
Jordan recently wrote a letter to his friend, Jeremy Driver, a firefighter in Jordan's neighborhood fire station, Tyler's Station Number 7, to thank Jeremy for allowing him to attend another firefighting event and ask if he could be part of something with the city of Tyler.
"He got a response back from Jeremy saying that the chief asked him to participate in the parade, and he's just not been the same since he's found out about it," said Jordan's dad, Ralph Sammarco, who came up from his home in Houston to ride in the fire truck with his son. "He's lost a lot of sleep thinking about this day in and day out."
"He loves the fire department. He loves fire trucks," said Driver. "And he is just overcome with emotion whenever he gets around our fire station. And he just shows so much interest in it and has such a joy for it that we just wanted to make it happen for him, whatever we could do to make his dream come true."
And so the Tyler Fire Department made him a junior fireman. "That means a lot to me because I'm saving people's lives," Jordan said.
And he rode proudly for the first time in a Tyler fire truck, a moment Jordan's dad knows means the world to his son.
"I think probably like hitting the lottery. Everything. He will talk about this for a long time to come, if he ever stops," Ralph said.
Jordan told us after the parade that he felt "rich and famous" because he had been on the fire truck and that it was as good as being at Disney World.
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