Brayson Dunton has the mindset to help others as often as he can, but the Dover-Foxcroft youth had been challenged in recent years by a brain tumor.
The 11-year-old son of Darek and Jennifer Dunton fought his medical issues in great part through his love of firefighting — he’s already an honorary member of both the Newport and Dover-Foxcroft fire departments.
“When Brayson got his last treatment a while ago, we made up a work shirt for him, we gave him a hat, we made him an honorary junior fireman and he was welcome in the station anytime,” Dover-Foxcroft Fire Chief Joe Guyotte said. “That made his life.”
Brayson’s relationship with firefighting took yet another turn late Thursday afternoon as Make-A-Wish Maine gifted him with a firefighter-themed golf cart at the end of a procession featuring more than 30 firetrucks and law enforcement vehicles from Dover-Foxcroft, Newport and more than a dozen surrounding towns.
The surprise left the fifth-grader and many others in tears.
“He said, ‘Mumma, I couldn’t take it anymore, I just had to go to my knees,’” his mother Jennifer Dunton said. “He is such a humble kid — the tears flow when he realizes this is all for him.”
Brayson’s new vehicle, donated by Five Star Golf Carts, was dubbed “Engine #1 Dover-Foxcroft,” and Guyotte announced that there will never be another Engine #1 in the town’s fleet.
“Here’s a kid who’s gone through hell, but he’s got a spirit that he’s going to lick this and I really, really hope he does,” the chief said.
After the emotional presentation, Brayson and his grandfather, Rick Getchell, served as grand marshals of the ceremony’s exit parade.
“His ‘Bampa was a firefighter, so he’d take Brayson and Brayson’s sister [Ava] to the fire station and show him all the trucks and let him sit in them when he was younger,” Jennifer Dunton said. “He is also such a helper — he loves helping people and making their day.”
“I am just super proud to be his mom,” she added. “We have friends and family who unfortunately are going through cancer treatments themselves, [and] the fact they use his positivity and strength to get through their tough times is humbling.
“My boy is getting them through, that is just crazy to me,” she said.