Thousands gather to remember Trucker Dukes, 'our own miracle' - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Thousands gather to remember Trucker Dukes, 'our own miracle'

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KIHEI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Thousands of Maui residents and firefighters from across the country attended a "celebration of life" in Kihei on Friday for Trucker Dukes, the 3-year-old boy who inspired millions on social media and galvanized the Valley Isle community with his bravery before losing his battle with cancer last week.

Dukes, the son of a Maui County firefighter, suffered from Stage 4 neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of pediatric cancer.

The moving, two-hour-long service began at 11 a.m. at Kihei’s Hope Chapel, following a private viewing for the boy’s family.

"Trucker rides with us," said Maui Fire Chief Jeffrey Murray, during the ceremony. "Trucker lived his life with more courage, valor and strength than I have seen in the 33 years that I have been in the fire service. Trucker is our own miracle." 

An estimated 2,000 people attended the celebration of life, filling the chapel and an overflow area outside where attendees watched the ceremony on large screens.

The attendees at Trucker's "celebration of life" included a large contingent of firefighters from New York City, where Trucker spent time receiving medical treatment. The boy was named an honorary member of the FDNY and frequented stations during his stay in New York.

"I speak for the entire FDNY delegation when I say, we are blessed, so privileged and honored to be here to celebrate the life of our hero, Trucker Dukes," said Capt. Jim Grismer, of the New York City Fire Department. 

Family members say firefighters from outside the country, including Canada and Australia, also attended Friday’s service.

"He touched me immensely in the short time I was blessed to know him," said Teela Cumberwoth, a first responder from Australia who befriended Trucker last year in New York City.

"Being a fellow firefighter, we have a bit of a  saying that you don't leave anyone behind, especially when it comes to having to bury them and say goodbye. I couldn't think about him being by himself, so I had to come and say goodbye."

Mobile users: See more photos of the ceremony by clicking here.

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