Heroes come in all shapes and sizes: big and little, stout and sturdy, slim and slight, shy and gregarious. Nowhere is that more evident than in the life of a brave Denison kindergartener who is battling a brain tumor – and in a Denison fire station, where a group of big-hearted firefighters answered the call to help.
Lucas Compton was like any other boisterous five-year-old until this past April, when doctors discovered an inoperable brain tumor wrapped around his brain stem. Suddenly, life as Lucas and his family knew it changed drastically. The classroom where Lucas learned about life and the things he loved was quickly replaced with a hospital room, rounds of chemotherapy, and lessons delivered at home by home-bound teacher Brenda Chapman, who quickly fell in love with the sweet and spirited youngster.
“It didn’t take me long to figure out that Lucas loved learning about anything and everything that pertained to firefighters,” said Chapman, who noted that Lucas is one of six young siblings in the family. “He wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, so a lot of the lesson plans that his amazing Terrell teacher, Tina Burnham, puts together for him revolve around things related to firefighters. She has sent 911 work sheets for him to complete, as well as fire safety booklets and other materials.
“We read books about firefighters,” added Chapman. “One of his favorites is ‘Curious George and the Firefighters.’ We also do math problems built around the numbers 9-1-1..as well as the number of ladders and hoses on the trucks. He’s like a little sponge…absorbing everything so quickly. He’s definitely a very bright and curious little boy, a hard worker and the bravest little fighter I know.”
Chapman says Lucas is usually in his firefighter pajamas when she arrives, which is exactly how he was dressed when a group of Denison firefighters recently paid him a surprise visit on their big red firetruck, complete with lights flashing and sirens blaring.
“Oh my gosh, I have never seen such total joy and excitement on a child’s face. He was totally in awe,” said Chapman. “We recently celebrated Fire Prevention Week in our schools, and Fire Chief Greg Lloyd helped arrange for the firefighters to visit Lucas at his home.”
Chapman said the crew of firefighters were incredibly gentle and attuned to Lucas’s needs as they gave him a personal and up-close tour of their firetruck. Captain Harlan Owens answered his every question. Hanna Lindemuth, a firefighter and paramedic, helped Lucas operate one of the smaller fire hoses. Firefighter Logan Smith answered additional questions and helped Lucas learn about all the truck’s equipment.
“They even presented him with a large toy firetruck and his very own fire hat, as well as a ride in their firetruck. I can’t begin to describe the sparkle in his eyes and the huge smile on his face. It’s a day and an experience that we’ll all remember…truly a dream come true for a very brave and special little boy.”
Anyone wishing to donate to Lucas’s go-fund-me page or to follow his journey can do so by visiting his Facebook Page “Path of Greatness: Lucas’s Road to Recovery.”
Denison Firefighter and Paramedic Hanna Lindemuth teaches Terrell kindergarten student Lucas Compton, dressed in his favorite firefighter pajamas, how to work one of the smaller water hoses on the firetruck. Lucas, who was diagnosed in April with a brain tumor, is currently being taught at home by DISD homebound teacher Brenda Chapman.
Lucas Compton, a Terrell kindergarten student who is battling a brain tumor and wants to be a firefighter when he grows up, sits proud and tall in the lap of Captain Harlan Owens of Denison Fire and Rescue. Their mission: a ride in the firetruck after getting an up-close and personal look into what it takes to be a firefighter.
Lucas is all eyes, smiles and excitement as Captain Harlan Owens of Denison Fire and Rescue explains how the Thermal Heat Signature Camera aids in rescue operations following a fire or disaster.
Denison firefighters Logan Smith, Hanna Lindemuth and Harlan Owens gather with Terrell kindergarten student Lucas Compton, who is currently battling a brain tumor. Brenda Chapman, Lucas’s homebound teacher, says he’s usually in his firefighter pajamas when she arrives, which is exactly how he was dressed when a group of Denison firefighters recently paid him a surprise home visit on their big red firetruck, complete with lights flashing and sirens blaring.