5-Year-Old Made Fire Chief in Grand Haven Township (MI)

Matthew Anderson takes the wheel of the fire engine. (Photo: Make-A-Wish Michigan)

Jared Leatzow

Grand Haven Tribune, Mich.

Nov. 27—New Grand Haven Township Fire Chief Matthew Anderson reported for duty on Friday, Nov. 5.

The 5 year old from West Olive was made fire chief for the day as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“We have been going to Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital for treatment for an optic pathway glioma that he has,” said Matthew’s mother, Mary Anderson. “They had said because he was going through chemotherapy for it he was eligible for Make-A-Wish.

“He loves firemen and he loves fire trucks. So, when we asked him if there was anything he could do what he would be, he said, ‘I want to be a fireman, I want to go see fire trucks.'”

Anderson said her son’s obsession with firemen began when he was 2 years old. The two would watch a television show together called “Fireman Sam.” Every year for Christmas, he asks for a fire truck, and he dresses up as a firefighter for Halloween.

Most weeks Matthew is in and out of doctor’s appointments. Anderson said her son misses out on a lot of things his younger brother gets to do.

“So, for him just having a day where he can just enjoy being a 5-year-old and not have to worry about going to appointments is just amazing. For us, frankly, you could go to the fire department, but couldn’t have made it as magical, and we wouldn’t have had the time to plan something out,” Anderson said.

She said a limousine was sent to the house to pick them both up, and that the Grand Haven Township firefighters gave Matthew a firefighter suit similar to their own.

“He got to do all the fun things,” she said. “He got to spray the hose, he got to make the stabilizers come out so they could put the ladder up, he got to take a ride in the fire truck, turn on the sirens, turn on the horns, take a ride in the fire truck. Everything a 5-year-old can imagine about being a fireman he got to do.”

At the end of the day, Matthew was given some gifts from both the Grand Haven Township Fire Department and the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Anderson said he got a blanket, toy fire truck and a backpack.

His favorite part of the day she said was riding on the fire truck and being called chief.

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