EUREKA, MO (KTVI) – Christopher Echele has had a lifelong dream of being a firefighter. The Eureka Fire Protection District turned that dream into a reality Tuesday night. Echele uses a wheelchair and has been a greeter at Walmart for 25 years.
Firefighters say he’s expressed a great deal of interest in firefighting. That prompted several of the firefighters to coordinate a surprise with the store’s managers. Firefighters arrived at the Eureka Walmart and made Echele an honorary firefighter, taking him on a ride.
“This was amazing,” said Echelle. “I was shocked.”
He was joined on the truck by his mother. The two were moved to tears over the invitation by firefighters. The truck traveled to Echele’s neighborhood where he was greeted by some of this neighbors.
“I’ve been a fan of the fire service ever since I was a kid and never really outgrew it,” said Echele. “So, to be able to meet and interact with all these guys is amazing.”
“It means a lot to us too,” said Lt. Steve McKinney, Eureka Fire Protection District. “It’s very important for us to have community members like him backing the Eureka Fire District.”
Firefighters say Echele has routinely expressed support for them. They told him he was welcome to visit their fire station anytime he wants.