Firefighters fulfill birthday wish

Published 7:00 am Saturday, October 29, 2016

Alan’s mother, Patricia Carter, said the efforts put forth by the fire department “made his day,” and put a smile on his face.

Alan’s mother, Patricia Carter, said the efforts put forth by the fire department “made his day,” and put a smile on his face.

Ever since Alan Carter was 18-months-old, he had a love of fire trucks. For his 37th birthday, Carter’s family, Crossroads Food Pantry and the Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Department came together to hold his party at the Henleyfield fire station, giving Carter an exclusive tour of the facility and the fire engines.

At a very early age, Alan’s biological parents didn’t provide him with the nourishment he needed, affecting his mental health. However, on a cold and rainy day, his luck changed when he was adopted by Patricia Carter.

“I remember when I went to go adopt Alan, his biological mother just threw him into my arms and just turned around with no remorse. Then I looked down at Alan and knew he was where God intended him to be, with me,” Patricia said.

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Patricia adopted Alan when he was 3-months-old, along with his biological sister Gracie.

“At the time, I needed them just as much as they needed me,” Patricia said. “I am so blessed to have them, and all my other kids, in my life.”

Patricia has adopted five special needs children, some struggling with mental disorders.

When Alan Carter was 18-months-old, Patricia Carter took him to the toy section in Murphy Marts to find something he might enjoy. As they were shopping, Alan Carter started to cry for an unknown reason.

“I didn’t know what was bothering him,” Patricia Carter said. “So I set him down in the middle of a million toys and he immediately grabbed all the fire trucks with a big smile on his face.”

Since then, his passion for fire trucks has continued to grow. For his birthday, Alan Carter received a large stuffed dog he calls Dalmatian Dog, and other firefighter memorabilia.

As big as his love is for fire trucks, his heart is even bigger.

One day, during the recent flooding in Louisiana, Alan Carter came out of his room with a large bag. His mother asked him what it was for and he said, “I want to give toys to the kids that don’t have any.”

The Carters survived Hurricane Katrina but lost almost everything in the storm, including an authentic firefighter suit given to him as a gift.

However, they were able to save the firefighter helmet, which Alan Carter treasures the most.

For Alan Carter, this might be the first time he has celebrated his birthday at a fire station, but he has been blessed to have had many experiences of the life of a firefighter.

Alan Carter was previously the Honorary Fire Marshall in the Picayune Christmas Parade. Also, Patricia Carter said brother Billy, a former volunteer firefighter at the McNeill Volunteer Fire Department, used to let Alan Carter ride with him in one of the small fire tankers and honk the horn, which “really lit his face up with joy.”

Alan Carter also has many talents, such as singing.

“When Alan starts singing, you can understand everything he is saying and his voice is so beautiful,” Patricia Carter said.

During one service at church, Alan Carter sang for the entire congregation, leaving everyone in awe of his talent.

“There wasn’t a dry eye in that church when he was singing. He has a way to sing joy into your heart,” Patricia Carter said.

On his birthday, Eric Bennett, volunteer firefighter at the Henleyfield Volunteer Fire Department, showed Alan Carter around the facility and, of course, his favorite part, the tankers.

“As a fire department, we try and do as much for our community as we can,” Bennett said. “We haven’t done anything like this before but from seeing the pure happiness on Alan’s face, this was definitely one of my favorite days here.”