Firefighters Put On Their Gardening Gloves To Help A Fellow Firefighter

Friday, May 4th 2007, 8:00 pm
By: News On 6

It was a simple home improvement project, cut short by cancer. News On 6 anchor Scott Thompson reports that was until a Stillwater firefighter's extended family stepped in to help.

A new stone walkway, steps up to the front porch and a lush new front lawn greet Chuck Anaya when he steps outside. For friend Dave Higgins, this wasn't just any project because he says Chuck isn't just any friend.

"Several of us, family, friends, got together, firefighters got together and decided we could take this project on, and finish the project for him," said Dave Higgins, a family friend of homeowner Chuck Anaya.

"I helped, I kinda helped dig and I put in the flowers," said Anaya’s 13-year-old son Alex Anaya.

Alex started the landscaping project with his dad, but they didn't get very far before cancer treatments stole his father's energy.

Chuck Anaya has been a firefighter twice as long as his son's been alive. Now he has a different fight on his hands.

"He's doing pretty good. He's not that bad," said Alex Anaya.

With dad hundreds of miles away at the hospital in Houston, 13-year-old Alex has been the man of the house. But it's hard for a seventh grader to stay strong through it all.

"It's been hard," he said.

Harder still is the wait, those last seconds before Chuck came home to welcome home hugs took the longest.

"I saw the fire trucks and I was freaking out," Alex’s mother Sherry Anaya said.

"Man, we were freaking out," said cancer patient and Stillwater firefighter Chuck Anaya.

Even a firefighter gets spooked by a fire engine in front of his house. But the finished landscaping project gets his seal of approval.

"Wow you guys, this is incredible. Thank you guys so much," Chuck said.

More hugs followed by a prayer, as two families, his own and his firefighting family, pledge to take Chuck by the hand through this long journey.

"Most firefighters are willing to give everything they have, the shirt off their back, but they have a problem receiving," Stillwater Fire Captain Dale Parrish said.

But Chuck says he's getting better at it every day. He says he now feels every day is a gift he's been given, a gift he's happy to share with family and friends.

Friends are collecting donations to pay for Anaya’s medical bills; you can make a donation to the Chuck Anaya Medical Fund at any Oklahoma Spirit Bank.

Watch the video: Firefighters Surprise Cancer Patient