HOUSTON – A former Houston Fire Department captain got one last chance to strap on a helmet and climb on board a fire truck on Thursday.
Rufus Smith was a captain with the HFD 41 years ago.
Smith has been a mentor to local firefighters since retiring.
Recently, Smith was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but still dreamed of one last shift at Houston Fire Station 7, his old firehouse.
“We all know of Rufus’ passion for the fire department, he talks about it quite frequently,” said Tana McMillon, Silverado Memory Care staff member.
The staff at Silverado Memory Care in Sugar Land decided to make his dream come true. They set up a day with firefighters at station 7 which included a ride on a fire truck.
Firefighters who worked with Smith four decades ago shared the same sentiments.
“Captain Smith made the house, and made the time that you were there worth being there,” said HFD Public Information Officer Jay Evans.
“He took all of us under his wing, and he just took care of us,” said retired firefighter Bobby Jerigen. “We always want to be there for him.”