By MYRA THRIFT, Staff Writer
Ware County’s emergency responders know their stuff! They have been known to save a life here and there when crises arise. And they save homes and other structures on a weekly basis from the devastation that fire can cause.
Bet you didn’t know they also save birthday parties!
Holden Bridges, a local lad who just turned 7 years old on Monday, was all set to celebrate the occasion on Saturday as his family planned a birthday party at their church, Sweat Memorial Baptist.
Invitations were sent out and the party was prepared — but nobody came — not one of those invited showed up to help Holden celebrate his big day.
“Holden was devastated, as were we,” said his mother, Amanda Bridges, a math teacher at Ware County High School.
Little did they know at that point that some new friends — yet to be introduced — were standing by to save the day.
“Holden is autistic. He has good days and not so good days,” said Amanda Bridges, “but he loves firefighters, firetrucks … all that sort of thing. He says he wants to grow up and be a firefighter.”
She explained about how the family returned home disappointed. But then Holden’s dad realized he had left his phone at the church.
“His father had to leave to go find his phone and he saw two firemen in a fire truck (Andrew McCarthy and Tyler McBee). He flagged them down,” Amanda Bridges said. “He explained to them what had happened and asked if they could possibly stop and say hello. They told him they would have to get permission.”
To the family’s surprise, not only did they stop by to say “hello,” they did it in true firefighter hero style. They brought Holden a firefighter’s hat, a fireman’s T-shirt, a goody bag filled with treats, and they brought along some friends, Capt. Waylan Carter and his EMT team of Eva Glosson and Ethan Crews, all riding in a Ware County ambulance.
Also a Ware County deputy arrived in his marked patrol unit (but she did not get his name).
“When no one showed up, it was not the party we had in mind for Holden’s birthday,” said Amanda Bridges. “But it could not have turned out any better. He got to tour the fire truck and hold the water hose to blast the water, he got to go into the ambulance … and just was mesmerized. He had a wonderful time. It was absolutely amazing. He sleeps in that T-shirt every night now.”
In addition, Holden was invited to visit the Ware County Fire Department for a tour. On Tuesday afternoon, the promise of the tour was fulfilled. The Waresboro Elementary student walked from truck to truck, blowing the horns, sounding the sirens, and he watched as they extended the big ladder above the truck, all the while enthralled with the firefighters and EMTs.
“Tuesday was a really good day for Holden,” said his mother. “He really felt comfortable around them and had a great time. He is normally shy around people but he really took to Drew and Tyler. He just fell in love with them, as have we. They are now his heroes, and ours as well.”