Retired Firefighter Experiences “One More Shift”

Serving as a firefighter was one of the defining aspects of Rufus Smith’s life, so when his life’s journey neared its end, Silverado helped make his wish of “one more shift” a reality.

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Rufus Smith spent 21 years of his life with the Houston Fire Department, answering countless calls to help those in danger and keep disasters at bay. Even after he retired as a senior captain, Rufus still contributed to the cause by mentoring many of the department’s firefighters.

After being diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Rufus moved to a Silverado community in January 2013. His deteriorating health meant that he was soon placed on hospice, and the Silverado Hospice team instantly recognized that being a firefighter was a big part of who he was and what gave him pride. He even told the hospice team that he would like to experience the thrill of being a firefighter one more time.

“Go Wish,” a program of Silverado Hospice designed to help fulfill lifelong dreams and wishes, was the perfect way to make Rufus’ dream a reality. The hospice team contacted the Houston Fire Department, which was more than happy to oblige one of their legends his special wish.

In a matter of days Rufus, his family, some friends and members of the Silverado Hospice team traveled to Houston Fire Station 7. The crew at the station saluted Rufus and gave him the full hero’s treatment, culminating in a full sirens-blasting ride in the station’s fire engine.

Everyone present, from those who knew him for decades to those who just met him, agreed that it was a wonderful thing to see a man who had dedicated his life to others have his greatest wish come true.  

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