The rain had just stopped, but 3-year-old Tyren wasn’t interested in jumping in the puddles that scattered his neighborhood street. His lips pressed into a smile as he stood with his teddy bear at the curb. A shiny, red fire engine was approaching. Its booming siren echoing off houses as it stopped in front of Tyren’s house.
Three firefighters stepped out of the truck and greeted Tyren with handshakes.
“Are you ready to be a firefighter today?” One asked Tyren, who wore a pint-size bunker coat with yellow stripes and “TYREN” on the back. For today, Tyren was to become a fireman.
After exploring the truck, Tyren and his mom, Tiesha, were escorted in the fire engine – lights flashing and sirens blaring – to the Detroit Fire Department’s (DFD) Engine 54 station a few miles away. A crowd of firefighters, police officers, volunteers, community members, school children, media and family greeted the truck as it stopped outside the two-door, brick fire station. Even a real Dalmatian and DFD mascot Patches cheered as Tyren held his mom’s hand to climb out of the truck.
Tyren and Tiesha were whisked inside the firehouse for a special ceremony. Tyren stood next to Detroit Executive Fire Commissioner Edsel Jenkins, who called out to Fire Chief John King.
“Seeing how this is Tyren’s day and it says ‘fire chief’ on his helmet,” Jenkins said, “Chief King, I’m officially demoting you to assistant chief and making Tyren chief for the day.”
Tyren was honored with an official DFD badge, certificate of appreciation and red firefighter’s helmet made just for him. Afterward, a firefighter grabbed Tyren’s hand and led him back outside. Tyren grinned as he was handed the fire truck hose. A fireman reached around his shoulders to help Tyren clutch the heavy hose. Water began to spray, and Tyren giggled as Patches jumped through the splash.
After the crowd dispersed, Tyren toured the station, then sat down for lunch. His chin just barely above the table’s edge, Tyren feasted on fried chicken, mashed potatoes and homemade macaroni and cheese – all cooked by the firemen. A few firefighters pulled up chairs to laugh and chat with the newest member of the firehouse.
The morning turned to afternoon as Tyren and his family explored the station and talked with the firefighters. Before long, Tyren was called back to the truck, where he and his tiny cousins giggled out the oversized windows. Tyren grasped Make-A-Wish balloons as they escaped through the open window.
“Did you have fun?” Tiesha asked as she hugged Tyren after she and the firefighters climbed back into the truck to take Tyren home. The sun peaked out from behind the clouds as the firemen of Engine 54 waved goodbye to Tyren the Fireman.
"The entire day was amazing, just seeing him smile like that," Tyren's mom Tiesha said. "He still talks about it every day. He wants a fire truck to come pick him up ... We are so grateful for what (Make-A-Wish) did for Tyren."