NEWPORT NEWS, Va. – As his dying wish a former state trooper and Newport News firefighter requested one last ride in a fire truck.
Fred Broyles’ has been battling cancer for the last 8 years and was recently given just a few weeks to live. His second family of firefighters took action to that wish a reality.
“When Fred found out he had cancer, he went to the doctor and never come back to work,” says his wife. “He said for so many years, ‘I never took my last ride. If I had known the last time I was in the engine it was my last ride, I would have been happy.”
“When someone retires, they get the opportunity to ride around and visit the stations for one last visit. Fred really never got that opportunity,” says a fellow firefighter.
Too weak to speak, the 57-year-old’s eyes would just light up when he recognized someone, and if he didn’t then there was still a firm handshake or a hug.
“I think Fred helped a lot of people. That’s why we got a lot of people here,” his wife said.
Known as a hero to many, Broyles said goodbye to hundreds in the community who came out to share the special moment with him. Thanks to all of the crews from across the Hampton area Broyles got to take that last ride.
“I’m always proud of him, but I’m more proud of him today. It’s a brotherhood, it’s what it is,” says his wife.