HOUSTON - Houston Fire Captain Bill Dowling has spent almost a year working to recover after being injured in what has been called the deadliest day in Houston Fire Department history.
Dowling lost both of his legs and suffered brain damage after leading a rescue attempt where four fellow firefighters died and 13 were injured.
Now, almost a year later, Dowling was all smiles sitting in a private jet chartered for him. With the support of donors, Bill Dowling and his wife Jacki Dowling are flying to San Diego to see their son Forrest graduate from Marine boot camp.
"It means everything that my husband is well enough to go," Jacki Dowling said. "We're so grateful and so excited."
Jacki Dowling said for months her husband has been working hard, gaining physical and mental strength for this important journey.
And now that it's here, Jacki Dowling said it's emotional.
"He started crying, so he's pretty much extremely emotional, but they are happy tears," Jacki Dowling said. "I know they are happy tears. He's very proud."
Kenneth Redding, with the Katy Fire Department, set the plan in motion. As a veteran and a firefighter, he said he remembers how important it was for his own family to see his boot camp graduation. He wanted that for the Dowlings, too.
"I wanted to make sure their parents had the same opportunity," Redding said. "I wanted Forrest to be able to see his dad there."
When Redding asked for donor help, it poured in -- including the jet from George Bishop.
"It's a real pleasure to us to be able to do these things," Redding said.
The Dowlings' next stop is San Diego. Local 2 will be there to attend the graduation Thursday with the Dowling family.
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