A local five-year old that has been though years of health challenges had an entire community rally around him last week as he was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation that was not only very special to him, but was also the 10,000th wish to be granted by the local chapter since its inception.

Advertisement

His name is Magnum Minnick, who has been a resident of El Dorado Hills that has had a great love for fire trucks and a dream of being a firefighter. Last week, that dream became reality as young Magnum became the youngest, and the smallest firefighter to be sworn in by the El Dorado County Fire Protection District and even got to suit up and respond to a make shift fire at the county’s fire training center before an enthusiastic and supportive crowd.

“He had no fear entering the structure that was smoked out as much as it is on any of our normal training days,” El Dorado County Fire Captain Jamie Preston said at the special event held for Magnum, the community and the media last week. “Visibility was at zero and he wasn’t scared at all.”

Advertisement

Bring brave is nothing new for Magnum.  This young man has gone through more medical procedures and adversities than many adults every endure in their entire lifetime.

Just after his first birthday, Magnum was a victim of Diamond Blackfan Anemia which is a very rare bone marrow disorder. Since his diagnoses, the young man has undergone a bone marrow transplant, chemotherapy treatment, more than 18-blood transfusions on top of 21 platelet transfusions, according to members of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Advertisement

During all of the trips to the hospital and through all of the treatments, one of the things that brought joy and big smiles to Magnum was fire trucks. Referring to them as “woo woos,” Magnum would be all smiles whenever he got to see a fire truck big or small.  At one point, he even said he wished he was a fire truck.

Last week, the Make-a-Wish Foundation granted Magnum with an experience that perhaps as close as one can get to being a fire engine. The very unique wish wasn’t solely granted by the foundation, it literally took a village of those in the community to put all of the pieces together to create Magnum’s special day.  Leading that village was the El Dorado County Fire Protection District.

After the arrangements were all in place, Magnum was sworn in as an honorary firefighter for the district last week by Fire Chief Tim Cordero. He received his badge, turnout gear, his very own custom helmet and more during a ceremony for the ages.

Advertisement

Magnum was greeted by a crowd of supporters that came out from the community, he even gave interviews to the media on hand with his family and members of the. Make-A-Wish Northeastern & Central California and Northern Nevada by his side. It wasn’t only a celebration for Magnum, it was a big day for the organization as well as this marked the 10,000th wish granted by the chapter of the organization.

The event was far more than just the ceremony. Aboard county engine 28, Magnum traveled to Historic Placerville where he met the mayor and the vice mayor who issued him a proclamation recognizing him as firefighter for a day and also the honorary mayor as he rang the bell at the historic bell tower, which was once used to call volunteer firefighters to fires in the city’s early days.

Advertisement

From there, Magnum and his crew responded to a makeshift fire at El Dorado County Fire’s Fire Training Center. With the help and guidance by Capt. Preston, they operated a hose line, extinguished the fire and searched for victims. The effort worked up an appetite for Magnum, so he then went back to the station and got to have lunch with the fire firefighters.

“It’s a great celebration to end everything that he’s been going through,” commented Tashina Minnick, Magnum’s mother. “His favorite thing is firefighters, fire engines and that stuff. These firefighters have been a help, have even helped transport him to UC Davis. I just want to express such a deep gratitude to everyone involved in this, and all the support and love.”

Photos: Make-A-Wish Foundation

“It’s amazing; it’s been such a great celebration to end everything that he’s been going through,” Tashina said. “He loves dinosaurs but his favorite thing is firefighters, fire engines and that stuff. These firefighters have been a help, have even helped transport him to UC Davis once. I just want to express such a deep gratitude to everyone involved in this, for all the support and the love.”

While the day was a big one for Magnum and his family as they look forward healthier times ahead, it was also a big moment for everyone involved, many of which had tears of joy during the event, even the firefighters who participated.

“It strikes at the core of who we are as firefighters and why we’re here,” said Cordero, shortly after he swore Magnum in. “I mean, this is at the ground level. This is why we do what we do. It strikes at the core of being a firefighter and a parent.

While Magnum’s wish marked a milestone of granted wishes by the foundation, it was perhaps one of the most unique wishes the organization has granted. Not only was it the work of the foundation, but an entire community that came together to make it special. 

“We are so thankful for El Dorado County Fire partnering with us to make this happen,” said Karen Alvord, President and CEO of the area chapter of Make a Wish. “That’s the joy of Make A Wish is that the wishes are so unique to the child. Something like today brings great joy and hope and can take his mind off all the things he has been through.”

The El Dorado County Fire Protection District was one of the key players in making this wish come true. They too, thanked the many different people, businesses and departments that helped them pull it off. 

“We would like to thank Ghost House Leather for providing Magnum a custom helmet shield. We would also like to thank All Star – Detail, Tint & Wraps of El Dorado Hills for providing custom decals for Magnum’s fire engine. El Dorado Transit provided transportation between all of our locations for friends and family to come along,” the district said in a statement. “Thank you to Placerville Police, Placerville Public Works, the CAL FIRE Amador – El Dorado Unit, Cameron Park Fire Department, Diamond Springs – El Dorado Fire Protection District, El Dorado Hills Fire Department, and Shingle Springs Band of Miwok Indians – Tribal Fire for helping to make Magnum’s wish a reality.”

To learn more about the Make A Wish Foundation, visit their website at: www.wish.org.

Bill Sullivan
Author: Bill Sullivan