By: Sheryl Wilde
The shiny new Mercedes-Benz convertible crashed into the wall of Laurel Park house as Marquez squealed with glee.
The car hit the wall again.
Then, his eyes bright, lost in a world of his imagination, he revved the engine, screeching out a tight 360 with the remote-controlled car.
Many of you may know Marquez, who suffers from Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy. He’s wheelchair bound but nothing can contain his free-wheeling, live life to the fullest spirit. He loves fast cars, baseball, and his older brother Maurice, who is afflicted with the same disease. The brothers were orphaned several years ago when both of their parents died within a month of each other. They were moved to Mountain Shadows soon after.
If all wishes came true, Marquez would be able to stand on his own, pick up the keys to a real Mercedes and walk on his own two legs to the car, then get in and DRIVE!
Unfortunately, due to the debilitating effects of Duchenne’s, Marquez will never be able to do a simple thing like drive a car. But that hasn’t stopped him from dreaming.
When he was a boy, like most boys, he played with toy cars and pushed them along the carpet mimicking the engine’s roar – VROOM! VROOM! And he dreamed of being free to drive – drive to his heart’s desire on the open road with the top down. And with his imagination on fire, he could almost feel the warmth of the sun on the back of his neck as he drove. He could almost see his girlfriend’s long blonde hair blowing gently in the wind as they cruised down the 101. And he would smile and laugh, and sometimes his heartbeat would even quicken as he played with those cars, because the story playing out in his imagination felt so real.
Like many young men his age, Marquez still dreams of sports cars and speed. In fact, when asked what he wanted for Christmas this year, he had but one wish – a remote-controlled toy car. It had to be remote-controlled because he can no longer get down out of his wheelchair to push the car along the floor.
Thanks to Eagle Transportation, his Christmas wish has been granted and Marquez is now driving in his dreams.
“I received a call from Marie Miltimore at Eagle Transportation a few weeks before Christmas,” says Janet Steen, Mountain Shadows – Riverside. “She said they’d like to buy all of our kids something for the holiday. I was so excited for our kids! To me this is huge that someone who had never even seen our kids wanted to buy presents for them all. This rarely happens for our children. It’s truly a blessing.”
Truly a blessing, especially for Marquez, who otherwise most likely would not have received anything for Christmas.
Says Tom Holt, owner of Eagle Transportation, about why they contacted Mountain Shadows to make this incredible gift, “I love kids. I love ’em point blank. If my wife and I were younger, we would adopt every one of the children at Mountain Shadows. We’ve always been close to our own kids. We’ve devoted our lives to our kids to be honest. And we like to do it. A lot of people, when they have kids, take one big, fancy vacation each year. We do everything as a family – camping, desert riding, school activities, everything. We stayed active and involved with our children every day. And we enjoyed it.
“We started Eagle Transportation about 15 years ago. Since that time, we’ve grown into a multi-million dollar company that provides a wide variety of trucking and transportation services throughout the L.A. basin. We believe it’s important to take time out of life to make someone else happy, someone who can’t do it for themselves. I think if more people took time out to do this, it would be a very nice world.
“I’ll just tell you that I’m a very kindhearted person. Anyone would tell you that. I know I can’t take my money with me, so I try to share it and make as many people happy as possible. That’s probably why I’ll never be rich.
“We started doing this about 4 years ago. We have an army truck and it’s all decorated with lots of lights for Christmas. We started out caroling in the neighborhood on Christmas Eve. Then we started visiting Totally Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in San Bernardino. We park the truck and play Christmas music for the children. Santa and his elves, my grandchildren, are there. We hand out lots of gifts. The kids really enjoy it. We learned about Mountain Shadows through Totally Kids.
“This year, Mike Rodgers and Brandon Myers of Hi-Way Safety in Chino partnered with us. Procast Products donated toys. They are all very loving people.”
“It was rainy and cold on the night Tom and Brandon delivered the toys,” adds Janet. “But as they were taking the toys off the truck, they were both smiling the whole time. I think Tom is a big kid at heart. He likes toys and he loves giving.
“Thanks to Tom and Eagle Transportation, all of our Mountain Shadows kids had a fun and great Christmas, especially Marquez!”
The Mercedes slammed into the wall again.
Marquez maneuvered it back to the center of the room, still lost in his beautiful dream – where his feet can press the gas pedals, where his hands can turn the steering wheel, where he can drive in the sun with the top down, feeling the wind dance across his thick black hair.
Thank you, Eagle Transportation, for making this Christmas wish come true for Marquez – and all of our children at Mountain Shadows – Riverside. Because you took time out to do this, our children’s world is a little bit nicer.
Tom Holt, you are a very kindhearted person. And we will tell everyone that.
To help Mountain Shadows residents like Marquez continue
to live more fulfilling and active lives, please click here.