CHICAGO (CBS) — Tuesday was a magical “day off” in Chicago for a nine-year-old Indiana boy who was scalded over virtually his entire body at the age of two.
Owen Mahan thought he was traveling the 3-1/2 hours from Pittsboro, Ind. to Chicago for a doctor’s appointment. Instead, he had lunch at Harry Caray’s, rode the Seadog speedboat and Navy Pier’s Ferris Wheel. Then he visited Chicago Fire Department Engine 78, across the street from Wrigley Field. There, he was named an honorary firefighter. Not only did he get a uniform, complete with a helmet, he rode aboard Engine 78 and radioed the 9-1-1 Center as well.
“I loved it,” he said.
Asst. Deputy Fire Commissioner Tim Sampey noted Owen’s dead-eye aim with a hand extinguisher. When given the chance to handle its hose, the water stream hit a fire hydrant outside the fire station, and his mother, Susan.
She told WBBM she was astonished with the way the day played out.
“I had some idea (of what was to happen), and this was so much more amazing than I ever dreamed,” she said. “They went over and above.”
Owen was presented with an Engine 78 stocking cap, a pin and a patch, a dress uniform and a firefighter’s helmet and a certificate naming him an honorary firefighter.
“You’re one of us now,” Sampey told him.
Children from the Blaine School serenaded Owen with “Go Cubs Go” before he headed across the street to Wrigley Field, where he sat in the dugout for Tuesday night’s game.
Owen faces his 50th surgery in seven years next month, at which time his left leg will be amputated four inches below his knee. He lost his right leg in February. The surgery is being done, free of charge, by the Shriner’s Hospital network.