BUFFALO, Ind. (WLFI) – A 23-year-old man from the White County town of Buffalo wanted to be a firefighter since he was little, but his dreams were cut short.
“When I heard the sirens, I was on my bike, driving, trying to find them,” Dylan Ferguson said.
One day while on his way to pick up a friend on his moped, the unthinkable happened. Ferguson was 16 when he was in a serious moped accident, leaving him paralyzed.
Even though life is a bit more challenging, he hasn’t let it keep him down.
“It’s an uphill battle and everyone asks why I stay so positive and I mean, there’s nothing else you can do,” Ferguson said.
Everyone knew Dylan aspired to be a firefighter and while he was in the hospital, a firefighter from Buffalo came to visit and brought a gift along too.
“He brought me a patch of the Buffalo Fire Station,” said Ferguson.
That was only the beginning, while fixing his bed, an employee from the mobility company noticed all of the patches Dylan had on his wall. That’s when she took to social media in hopes of adding to Dylan’s collection. From that point on, it went viral.
The patches kept coming along with T-shirts, hats and even personal letters.
“When I see the mail, I’m yelling, ‘mail’s here, and mail’s here’ and my mom or my nurse run out there and bring it in,” Ferguson said. “And I’ll read the letters and look at the patches, and it just brings a smile to my face every day.”
So far, Dylan has received patches from all around the country and even a few from around the world.
While the everyday mail call brings excitement to the Ferguson household, Dylan had no clue about what was to come.
Tom Steindler is a firefighter at the Valparaiso Fire Department, and he was touched when he heard Dylan’s story.
“I asked if anyone who had known the family, if there was a way they could get me the information and contact them,” said Steindler.
Eventually, he did get in contact with the Fergusons.
Last Tuesday, Steindler surprised Dylan with not only a patch from the fire department, but one of his Class B EMT uniforms — his retired firefighter turnout coat and a helmet with Dylan’s name on it.
“I know he really truly understands and he appreciates what it is to be a fireman, what it is for the brotherhood, and to appreciate things that are given to him as well as giving back to others,” Steindler said.
As for Dylan’s mother, the kindness has been overwhelming.
“We never in our wildest dreams expected anything like this,” said Paulette Ferguson.
As of last count, Dylan was up to 336 patches.