One year ago Trucker Dukes took his last breath in my sweet friend's arms. He was three years old but lived a legendary life. He had Neuroblastoma and soldiered through the unthinkable. Throughout the sacrifices, the pain, the poison, the operations, the separations and the tears there was love. This love came from Joshua and Shauna Dukes because they dared to live and love when many would hide in fear and despair.
As they opened their story to others, I fell in love with them and their boy. I became Trucker's Social Media Manager. With his parent's blessing, we started Team Trucker. His story is still remarkable and will no doubt be a part of my life and so many others indefinitely.
Tomorrow, his big brothers from the New York City Fire Department will honor their fallen hero with a memorial and a plaque presentation at the quarters of Engine 39 and Ladder 16 where Trucker would visit while living in New York City for cancer treatment.
I remember him today with a broken and grateful heart. Trucker was so adorable. I took photos of him at 6 weeks old and in his final days. Some of my favorite photos of Trucker are of the day he officially became a part of the FDNY.
Daniel A. Nigro, the Commissioner of the New York City Fire Department named Trucker an Honorary Fire Fighter in a ceremony in May 2016 with his big brothers dressed in their "Class A" uniforms. Joshua also wore his "Class A" uniform as he held his son and took the special oath in front of his friends and family.
His dad is a firefighter on Maui and Trucker was born to be a fireman. Thanks to so many he was a firefighter. He rode in fire trucks in the streets of New York City, flew in a helicopter, rode on the fire boats at sunset with the Manhattan skyline behind him, danced on stage at a concert in Coney Island and peed in the grass at the FDNY Fire Academy after his Honorary Fire Fighter Oath Ceremony.
I am grateful for being there to capture a fraction of his epic adventures. Trucker is and will be forever three. I miss him. I'm not alone. Captain Jim Grismer, Fire Fighter Francisco Ruiz, Lieutenant Bobby Jones and more will all be at the event tomorrow along with Shauna and Joshua. Trucker's "FDNY Boyz" pulled their money together to bring Trucker's mom and dad from Maui, Hawaii to Manhattan, NY for the special day. A total of four plaques will be presented. One for three fire houses in NYC and one for Joshua's fire house in Paia, Maui.