CARUTHERSVILLE, MO (KFVS) - It's a story that will make your heart feel good. The Caruthersville Fire Department surprised Larry Bowman Monday night by making him an auxiliary member.
This 58-year-old man always wanted to be a firefighter, and now he's a part of the team in a special way.
"They made his dream come true and he's very happy," Alice Hagan said. "If you don't know him by Larry, you now him by Wa Wa," Hagan."
"It took me years to find out his name was Larry Bowman," Police Chief Tony Jones said. "I thought his name was Wa Wa."
If you live in Caruthersville, he's a face you may recognize. If you are work in the public safety building, you see him everyday.
"Most fire departments have a dog as a fixture around the department," Jones said. "They got Wa Wa."
Larry Bowman, or Wa Wa, as everyone calls him earned his nickname from doing what he could to help others.
Bowman, who is deaf, one time called the fire department and was yelling on the phone. The dispatcher recognized his voice and sent a crew over to where bowman lived.
"He said, I don't know what's happened but something is going on. Larry is so excited," Captain Richard Lee of the Caruthersville Fire Department said. "When the police cars rounded the corner, they found a car on fire. It's always been a joke around here that Larry called in a car fire."
Captain Richard Lee says Bowman dreamed of being a firefighter since he started coming to the department since the late 80's.
Family members tell me his physical limitations prevented that dream from becoming a reality, but the Caruthersville Fire Department thought they could do something about that and at their annual Christmas party gave Bowman a surprise of a lifetime.
"We presented him a uniform, a badge and made him an honorary member of our fire department," Captain Lee said.
"Well it means a lot," Hagan said. "He don't have a lot of time left from what I gather so ya they done him right."
That's the other thing about Bowman. Doctors recently told family members he has stage 4 cancer and his time could be limited.
"I doubt we will be able to peel it off of him but he's definitely going to be noticed in town now with his uniform," Lee said.
"They love him to death and they just made his day and I am grateful for that," Hagan said.