A story of inclusion at Chickahominy Volunteer Fire Department Station 10

From Winnie Southworth:

Many years ago my Down syndrome son Mark saw a program on TV that showed another individual with Down syndrome who got to go with his brother to the firehouse and rode in the ambulance when he went out on calls. Mark got excited and said he could do that, too. My husband was a police officer, my daughter a paramedic. But Mark was adamant about being a firefighter. When I said I didn’t think he would be able to do that, he simply said he would pray. It’s hard to tell your child that they can’t follow their dreams — even when you’re sure they won’t come true. So I let him hope, knowing life would teach whatever lessons needed to be taught.

To read all of Winnie’s story, go here. And the Chickahominy VFD is one of ten finalists in the Firedog Across America Heroes contest, with a Grand Prize of $100,000. To vote for Chickahominy, choose #6 here.


12 thoughts on “A story of inclusion at Chickahominy Volunteer Fire Department Station 10

  1. Where do you get those plastic covers? Now I need one! Thank you so much! One of the fireman told me to go to Google and type my name. Wow! This has all been amazing and these men are wonderful and so are you all for voting. Thank you, you have made my day. Winnie

  2. Thanks so much for all of your votes. My boyfriend is a volunteer firefighter with Station 10 and is profiled in the video (Steve DeLuca), and he just let me know that his station is in 2nd place, trailing by only 600 votes. I went to high school and worked at the local grocery store with Mark, the firefighter with DS, and he is truly a special person. Thanks again for all your help. It means so much to the station and the community. Keep getting the word out! 🙂

  3. I have voted, thanks for the link!
    And thanks for sending me the article 🙂

    And if you have your ways around Europe or Austria make sure to let me know, you are always invited to us!

  4. Wow. I’m with David’s Sister…my keyboard is wet! Thanks for sharing this. My child does not have DS but has other developmental disabilities. This story not only gives me hope for his future but faith in the inherent good of humanity.

  5. I was happy to place my vote. What a great story. What I like about it most is the fact that it could happen anywhere, and that shows everyone the benefits of including someone with DS in their personal or professional lives. Our county board of MR/DD often runs radio ads that explain the benefits of employing someone with DS. The least of which is improved workplace moral. Studies have proved this! Now imagine having someone with DS in your home. 🙂

  6. I voted too. If I keep reading stories like this I’m going to need a plastic cover for my keyboard. How touching and heart-opening. Thank you joy spreader!

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