Volunteer fire department gives man with Cerebral Palsy a special birthday surprise

DJ turns 30 on May 12. / Source: WVLT News
DJ turns 30 on May 12. / Source: WVLT News(WVLT)
Published: May. 9, 2020 at 9:36 PM EDT
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The Hamblen County Volunteer Fire Department in conjunction with Hamblen County community members, gave one man the birthday surprise of a lifetime Saturday afternoon.

DJ Swecker, a long time friend and volunteer of the department, who has Cerebral Palsy, was surprised with a huge parade for his 30th birthday on Saturday. DJ's birthday is on Tuesday, but the family decided to celebrate during the weekend so that everyone could participate.

"No words. It's just unbelievable," said DJ's mother Karen Swecker. "The support and how people love on him".

Firefighters, church members, friends and family of DJ's all lined up and paraded in front of the fire station, where DJ and his mom watched. Karen said its a blessing to see her son reach this milestone age.

"It feels good. As a mom, you always want to see your kids succeed and this is his succession. This is how he's succeeding and I love it" said Swecker.

DJ volunteers with the fire department once a week. He has been an honorary firefighter for more than five years now.

"His mom approached me I don't know, five years ago, and we worked the details out and he comes once a week," said Fire Chief Mark Hickman. "He more or less mans the radio and waits on those fire calls to come in and watches those fire trucks roll out and buddy he gets excited."

Hickman said the department has done many birthday celebrations for members of the community during this time of social distancing, but DJ's celebration was personal.

"It's special for him, it's his 30th birthday. We will do it again at 31, 32, every one of 'em if we have to. Whatever makes him happy, we're tickled to death to be apart of and be able to help him," said Hickman.

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