Houston Boy Gets To Be A Soldier For A Day At Ellington Field
by: Florian Martin, August 14, 2013 10:08:00 pm
It was no ordinary day for five-year-old Alexander Torres.
Thanks to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Alex got to be a soldier for a day at Ellington Airport’s Joint Reserve Base in Clear Lake.
His father, Victor Torres, says Alex loves everything military and wants to be a soldier when he grows up.
Alex's father Victor Torres takes a picture of his son.
“Most of the time, he always has a backpack. He packs his toys in there and, you know, walks around with his gun, talking about that he’s a soldier, so he definitely likes it. He loves Rambo movies.”
Alex has a rare tumor in his brain and although his prognosis is currently good, it’s a heavy burden to carry around for a little boy, and for his family as well.
Victor says it’s great to see his son smile and enjoying himself.
“More than anything just, you know, having to look at something that not everybody has a chance to, you know? Looking at all the (military) branches here together, something (inaudible). It’s very wonderful to see that. He’s going to remember this day for the rest of his life.”
Major Adam Collett with the U.S. Army Reserve says the Make-A-Wish Foundation contacted him about helping Alex have this special day. The joint reserves welcomed the opportunity to give back to the community, Collett says.
“Honestly, we just want Alex and his family to walk away from here with a very memorable experience, the special memories that he wanted to get out of this. And then we’re also, of course, in participating in this, we’re hoping to encourage other organizations around Houston, when the Make-A-Wish Foundation calls and asks for help, we of course want to help set a good example and encourage them to help out other children in our local area.”
Alex’s day started with some Humvee rides. He got to sit in some helicopters, watched F-16 jets take off and played around with battle simulators. The day ended with a vintage military plane flight over Kemah with his mom.
Part of Alex’s wish was to get his own military uniform. Since all branches are represented at Ellington Field, the question was which uniform he would wear — Army, Navy, Coast Guard or Air Force?
“All of the services wanted to help be a part of that special experience, and so we all custom-ordered and kind of passed the hat from our own, you know, personal pockets to buy these uniforms to give him, and he’s actually worn a series of uniforms throughout the day.”
Alex has lots of time to think about what kind of soldier he wants to be later on. Today, he was able to be them all.