During the holiday months, fire safety is a particularly popular topic. Trees and twinkly lights start going up, and folks in colder climates begin using their fireplaces.
Ovens all over America also kick into overdrive, cooking festive entrees and yummy desserts. And of course, extended families converge into crowded spaces as people of all ages give thanks for life’s blessings.
Firefighters are a blessing many of us don’t necessarily think about often. But maybe we should, because they help save so many lives.
In the process, they often place their own lives at risk. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that between 2004 and 2016, the average number of firefighter fatalities each year totaled 102.
And that’s not even counting injuries from smoke inhalation, and other potential on-the-job dangers. Firefighters voluntarily put their well-being on the line to tackle incredibly hazardous situations.
Here’s another observation that probably doesn’t need statistics to reinforce it: Kids often grow up emulating the behavior that’s modeled for them.
Want a real-life illustration? Meet Texas toddler Dawson Aldridge.
Little Dawson lives near Richmond with his mom, Summer Aldridge. She told KPRC-TV that periodically, Dawson and his grandma would treat neighboring fire stations to surprise cookie deliveries.
That quiet example paid off in a poignant way recently, when Dawson was out shopping with his mother in 2017. Incredibly, Dawson himself was only 2-and-a-half at the time.
The pair was out running some errands at the nearby Richmond Walmart. Summer Aldridge told KPRC-TV that Dawson typically receives a tiny reward for respectful behavior on these excursions.
The little boy was good as gold during that trip to Walmart. As a result, he earned himself five dollars to spend on a fun trinket or favorite treat.
So Dawson took a peek at the snack display and picked out something tasty. While he was weighing his options, however, a group of firefighters passed him on their way toward the checkout lanes.
Dawson paused for a minute, and then put his selection right back on the shelf. Instead, he picked up a few packs of Tic Tacs.
“‘He said, ‘No, can we give this to those guys?’” recalled the youngster’s proud mother. She realized Dawson had remembered the gracious lesson his grandmother taught him.
That’s how young Dawson came to reward the crew from Richmond Fire Department Station Number One with the gift of minty-fresh breath. And sure enough, his sweetly childlike gesture of thoughtfulness basically knocked their socks off.
Firefighter Aaron Hafer was especially impressed. “It shows a lot about his character, and the kind of guy he’s gonna be,” Hafer told KPRC-TV.
Dawson was immediately invited to take a tour of the station. Alridge subsequently shared a few quick snapshots on social media, and they went instantly viral via media outlet Love What Matters.
“It’s just who he is,” she explained. “I hope by sharing his story, it can give other people hope and their kids maybe would follow in his footsteps.”
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