CRAIG — Nearly 10 years ago, Craig’s JP Price was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy.
The disease affects one’s ability to move freely and can cause frequent falls, trouble with standing or running, and some learning disabilities. It has rendered JP mostly bound to an electric wheelchair.
But in the past decade, JP, now 13 has had some real life heroes take him under their wings.
Members of the Craig Fire/Rescue team inducted him as an honorary firefighter Thursday night.
“One of the cool things I get to do as fire chief is promote firefighters,” said Craig Fire Chief, KC Hume. “Tonight, I get to do that again. But tonight, this is the first, at least to my knowledge, in the history of Craig Fire/Rescue, that we induct our first honorary Craig firefighter.”
Hume fought back tears as he told a small crowd of firefighters and residents the impact JP has had on Craig’s firefighters.
“We’ve developed a friendship,” Hume said. “We see you quite frequently, and it’s very special to us. I would offer up that you have made us a better team, have made us a better organization, and quite frankly, have made us better men and women.”
Since JP’s diagnosis almost 10 years ago, Craig’s firefighters have raised some $50,000 for the Muscular Dystrophy Association’s Fill the Boot campaign.
“He’s my nephew, and he come up with that disease about nine or 10 years ago,” said Battalion Chief Troy Hampton. “I had been running the MDA fill the boot drive, and we started that back up again. Every one of these guys would come out and spend time with that little guy, and it’s just become a family. We welcome him as one of our brothers now. We’re a pretty tight-knit group.”
A room full of Craig’s toughest firefighters were watery-eyed as Hampton and Hume presented JP with a real firefighter badge, a one-of-a-kind challenge coin, and a bright red Craig Fire/Rescue jacket with a number that belongs only to JP.
“No one ever gets that number again,” Hume said. “Your number is seven. It’s displayed on your jacket and on your badge.”
JP was also emotional Thursday, but he eventually pulled his teary eyes from beneath his Denver Broncos cap and thanked Craig’s firefighters.
“I just wanna say thank you, guys, very much,” he said quietly.
He said he hopes one day MDA and the Fill the Boot campaign will help to “find a cure.”
Contact Clay Thorp at 970-875-1795 or firstname.lastname@example.org.