WVFD helps a little girl’s dream come true

18 Jul
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Vivian, in her dad’s arms, and her brother Deaglan, watch the parade approach

Get ready. This story is going to hit you right in the feels.

Little Vivian Dooher, a child with special needs, only wanted a few simple things to celebrate her 4th birthday. She wanted to ride a real tractor on a real farm, she wanted to eat the Saturday dinner from one of her favorite books, The Very Hungry Caterpillar*, and she wanted to have a sleepover with her two older brothers.

But perhaps more than anything else, Vivian wanted a birthday car parade to pass by her house, complete with a fire truck and lots of lights and sirens.

A few months ago, Vivian had seen one of those birthday parades, and ever since had been advocating for one of her own. Still mostly nonverbal, she repeatedly made her wishes known by signing “firetruck” and “birthday.”

Arranging for the tractor ride was easy enough, thanks to the kindness of a farmer on

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Vivian got her tractor ride thanks to the folks at the Holt Rd. Family Farm. 

Holt Rd., and the dinner and sleepover wouldn’t be a big deal. Getting the fire truck parade, however, proved to be a bit more difficult.

Kim, Vivian’s mother, called anyone she could think of who had any connection to a police department, ambulance corps, even a K-9 officer. “Everyone, every single one, said we can’t do it anymore.” 

In a last ditch effort, she left an impassioned voicemail for the Webster Volunteer Fire Department, explaining how this was her daughter’s dream, and asking if there was any way they could help. 

But even they turned her down, albeit very apologetically. They don’t do these parades anymore, either, they explained. The sheer volume of requests would be very difficult to manage.    

But then Chief Rob Boutillier heard about the voice mail and realized this was a very special young lady and a very special request. He gave the thumbs-up, and the parade was scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday morning.

Kim expected only one fire truck to show up, perhaps two, and several friends and relatives. She did not expect the astounding display of love that would stream by her house that morning.

There was a fire truck for sure, with lights and sirens blazing. But it was followed by almost a dozen other first responder vehicles, representing the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office, Webster Police, Webster EMS and more. And leading the way was WVFD Assistant Chief Andrew Vorndran.

Vivian, who sat in her father’s arms for the entire parade, clearly enjoyed the spectacle. Kim was downright overwhelmed.

Due to her medical issues Vivian is immunocompromised, Kim explained, so the family couldn’t have a “normal” birthday party.

“We can’t have people here and so I really wanted to give her the birthday of her dreams,” Kim said. “(The WVFD) have gone above and beyond to provide that for her. The Firemen’s Parade is her favorite time of year, and this is like her own personal Firemen’s Parade.”  

“I think she would have been OK,” if she didn’t get her firetruck, “but this is like the frosting on the birthday cake to have her dream actually come true.”

“I really can’t say enough about the fire department for doing this for us,” she continued. “They’ve always been good to our family. We go to the Halloween event every year and they let the kids climb on the trucks, and they’re amazing. They care about our community and they care about kids.” 

“It means so much to me to make her birthday wish come true and care that much about a young child in our community. Especially in the setting of this pandemic when we can’t have any sort of party. This is better than a party, this is her actual dream coming true.”

Here are some more photos from the event:

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 *(For anyone who doesn’t remember The Very Hungry Caterpillar, Saturday the caterpillar ate a piece of chocolate cake, an ice cream cone, a pickle, a slice of Swiss cheese, a slice of salami, a lollipop, a piece of cherry pie, a sausage, a cupcake, and slice of watermelon. Then he got a stomach ache. Let’s hope Vivian doesn’t.)

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One Response to “WVFD helps a little girl’s dream come true”

  1. Tess Mahnken-Weatherspoon July 19, 2020 at 7:58 am #

    WEbster….where life is worth living….what a wonderful gesture to make a little girl smile…

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