By: Bill Phelan
Unit Public Affairs Representative
WARRENTON, Mo. - When Soldiers of the Missouri National Guard's 3175th Military Police Company heard of an opportunity to brighten the sprits a 3-year-old boy battling cancer, there was no shortage of volunteers.
"Every Soldier in the unit wanted to be a part of this," said 1st Sgt. Tim Meers, of Overland.
It was last fall when Jamie Beckmeyer, of Warrenton, had first contacted Sgt. 1st Class Robert E. Bennett with a simple request; to provide her son, Jacob, with a ride in an Army Humvee for his third birthday.
"So we set it all up and then Jacob got sick," Bennett said. "The next time I saw Jamie it was March and that's when she told me all that had happened with him."
Beckmeyer explained that is was just before Jacob's second birthday, in October 2008, that she began to notice his condition.
"He became weaker and was taking a lot more naps and then he started bruising," she said. "We took Jacob to the pediatrician and they did a blood test and discovered he had Leukemia."
What followed was a rigorous treatment program of chemotherapy and blood transfusions to battle the cancer.
"The first eight months of the treatment program was a rocky road," Beckmeyer said. "Jacob was hospitalized for three months and didn't walk."
Jacob still undergoes chemotherapy once a week and attends physical therapy, but his prognosis has greatly improved. Doctors report his Leukemia is now in remission.
On June 5, Beckmeyer brought Jacob, and his two sisters, Grace and Sarah, to the Warrenton Armory to fulfill his birthday wish to ride in a Humvee.
The family was treated to a tour of the facility during which every Soldier clearly delighted in seeing Jacob run about like any other healthy little boy.
Capt. Christopher Ash, the company commander, was among those to accompany Jacob and his family on the Humvee ride.
"My whole unit was touched by being able to make Jacob's birthday wish come true," Ash said. "We had a very long list of Soldiers who wanted to volunteer for this. It gives us an opportunity to give back to the local community and it really is an overwhelming experience for the entire unit."
Not surprisingly, Jacob was equally thrilled.
"When we pulled into the (armory) parking lot, Jacob said, 'Oh my gosh,'" his mother reported.
Once completed, Jacob declared the ride "fun" while Jamie Beckmeyer expressed gratitude to the National Guard.
"The Soldiers have bent over backwards to make this happen," she said. "They are wonderful people and they have touched my heart. I will be able to share this story with (Jacob) for the rest of my life."