Brooke Pankonin | Johnson Publications

Marion McDermott, Make-A-Wish director of development in Greater Nebraska, gives a presentation at the June Perkins County Chamber meeting.

Make-A-Wish director visits Grant

By Brooke Pankonin

Grant Tribune Sentinel

Marion McDermott, director of development for Make-A-Wish in Greater Nebraska and sister of Amy Kroeker of Grant, presented to Grant Rotary and Perkins County Chamber last week about the Make-A-Wish organization. 

Make-A-Wish started in 1980 in Phoenix, Arizona with a 7-year-old boy named Chris Greicius who had leukemia. 

Chris’s dream was to be a police officer, but he was not expected to live.

A family friend in law enforcement worked with the Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) to make Chris’s wish come true. Chris was flown to DPS headquarters in a helicopter where he and his parents were given a tour. He received a “Smokey Bear” hat and his own badge, becoming Arizona’s first and only honorary DPS officer.

At the end of the day, some of those involved realized they didn’t want the day to be the end of it. A group of officers had a uniform made for Chris and took it to his house, where they set up cones for Chris to steer his battery-powered motorcycle and qualify for a motorcycle officer’s wings.

Chris died days later, and was given the ceremony of a fellow fallen officer.

From this experience Make-A-Wish was born. The first official Make-A-Wish kid, Frank “Bopsy” Salazar, had his wish granted when he wished to be a fireman, ride in a hot air balloon and go to Disneyland.

 

 

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