A Little ‘Fire Fighter’ Lights The Fire’ in Angel MedFlight


Angel MedFlight employees (from top left clockwise) Cassandra Graper, Troy Miller and Jackie Martinez visit with young cancer patient and his brother at Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

By Angel MedFlight Contributor

As a worldwide air ambulance company, Angel MedFlight touches many people, but recently it was a little boy who’s fighting cancer that touched Angel MedFlight.

Already a proud supporter of Angels Supporting Pediatric Neurosciences and Phoenix Children’s Hospital’s Barrow Neurological Institute, Angel MedFlight wishes to forge a more collaborative relationship with the hospital. A long-term relationship that could not only impact the patients but our employees as well.

Jackie Martinez with our business development team says, “Out of all the foundations and organizations that we partner with, Phoenix Children’s Hospital is one that is very near and dear to our team here at Angel MedFlight. Because everyone is a mother or father or aunt or an uncle,  or knows a child. Children hold a very special place in our hearts.”

Last week Phoenix Children’s Hospital invited Martinez to tour the facilities and get a better understanding of the hospital and the outstanding care they provide. Angel MedFlight would like to give something tangible to the hospital that will have a lasting legacy and something that Angel MedFlight team members can help build or create.

It was the hospital’s oncology floor that had the biggest impact on Martinez, who in the last year worked on a story about a young Angel MedFlight patient’s battle with cancer. His story will be documented in an Angel MedFlight video to be released this summer.

While Martinez was waiting to meet with members of the hospital’s foundation, she looked down to see a little 6-year-old boy staring up at her with inquisitive eyes. He introduced himself and the two began a conversation.  After a few minutes of chatting Martinez asked the little boy if he could have anything in the world added to the oncology center’s playroom what would it be? The boy’s reply? “A fire truck, of course.”

That was all Martinez and Angel MedFlight had to hear.

Martinez was so impressed by this little boy and his courageous spirit, she knew something had to be done. Not only could  Angel MedFlight give some happiness to the little patient and others like him — but Martinez saw this as a chance for Angel MedFlight’s team members to feel the impact these  courageous kids could have on them.

The wheels were set in motion to return the next day to make the little boy’s wish come true.

When word of the boy’s request got back to Angel MedFlight, Human  Resources Director Tracy Rhoderick purchased a large fire truck for the boy and other firefighter-themed toys and books for the center. “This pulled on our heartstrings. We are so lucky here. Just to go out and give some happiness to a little kid. It’s so easy for me to go out and buy a fire truck and books. It’s nothing. But if it gives him just a little pleasure, then shame on me for not wanting to do it, ” said Rhoderick.

A  day later, Martinez along with Chief Strategy Officer Cassandra Graper and Critical Care Flight Paramedic Troy Miller arrived at the hospital with the fire truck and a few more surprises.

The boy was not having a good day when the Angel MedFlight team returned. The medication he was taking seemed to sap him of his strength and he looked weaker than the day before. But when presented with the fire truck, his eyes lit up. It just so happened the new fire truck was exactly the kind he wanted. Miller, dressed in his flight suit, kneeled down and gave the boy his “wings” name tag. “It was good to spark up his day,” said Miller. Martinez says there wasn’t a dry eye in the room.

To top things off, Angel MedFlight presented him with an authentic fire helmet. Not just any fire helmet, but one worn by former fire fighter and Angel MedFlight founder and CEO Jeremy Freer. The boy’s jaw dropped as he handled the black and yellow helmet complete with a canvas neck protector and ornate eagle on top. Freer, who is involved with numerous charitable organizations, enjoys making children happy — especially children like this little boy who fights a battle day.

Angel MedFlight is glad it was able to brighten this little boy’s day. But it’s his courage that has made an even deeper impact on our employees, inspiring us to get more of our team involved as we look to build a long-lasting relationship with Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

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