First responders show love to fallen Mesa firefighter’s young daughter
PHOENIX – Valley first responders united in Mesa on Wednesday morning to let a little girl who lost her mother know she would always be part of their family.
On her last day of school before her mother’s funeral, 6-year-old Abi Sullivan was escorted to Faith Christian School on a Mesa Fire and Medical Department truck.
Mesa Fire Capt. Steve Heyer said a special radio call went out during the ride.
“We just said that we hoped she enjoyed her ride in the firetruck and that we love her very much and we’ll always be here for her,” he told KTAR News 92.3 FM.
.@MesaFireDept escorting 6 year old Abi Sullivan to school today with a ride on Engine 216 which was her mom, Nikki Sullivan's last fire truck she rode on before medically retiring December 3, 2015 to battle occupational cancer. Her mom passed last week. @KTAR923 pic.twitter.com/VzZb0SbjII
— Ali Vetnar (@Ali_Vetnar) April 10, 2019
Nikki Sullivan died last week at age 45, three years after she medically retired from the department because of job-related cancer.
Abi was taken to school aboard Engine 216, the last truck her mother rode before retiring in December 2015. Abi was accompanied by her father Tim, a retired Mesa Fire captain, and other family members.
Nikki Sullivan, who joined the department in 2001, fought a form of cancer called adenocarcinoma for about six years. The cancer started in her breast and spread to other parts of her body.
Heyer said an estimated 250 firefighters and police officers from multiple municipalities showed up to welcome Abi, lining up and applauding as she walked into school.
Among those present were representatives from the Mesa Police Department, Rural Metro Fire Department and Gilbert Fire Department.
“We want to make sure she knows that she will always be in our family,” he said.
KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Ali Vetnar contributed to this report.