An 11-year-old boy who dreams of being a fireman himself has donated 125 smoke detectors to a Texas fire department to be distributed to needy senior citizens.
“He’s an amazing kid,” DeSoto Fire Rescue Chief Jerry Duffield said of Hector Montoya.
“He wanted to come to DeSoto. It’s not too far from where he lives. We were sure glad to get him,” said Duffield.
He said Montoya came to the firehouse Wednesday with his donation. He was honored in a ceremony attended by his family, several local firehouses, and the mayor.
“We have a very active, local senior citizens center, and we’re going to make the community aware of the donation through the center. Our goal is to put them in the homes of seniors who have economic hardship, who have a need,” Duffield told InsideEdition.com.
They’re also going to reach out to a local church. Any seniors in need of a smoke detector can reach the department directly, he said.
The chief said that the little boy with the big heart started gathering donations for smoke detectors when he was eight years old. He was moved after seeing a story on the news about a Fort Worth fire that killed a woman and one of her twin daughters.
“I remember that fire and how tragic that situation was. I could understand someone being inspired by that story. But at eight years old, it’s amazing,” said Duffield.
Montoya's proud grandmother, Sondra Banks, told InsideEdition.com, "He’s like an old soul." She said her grandson reached out to a local fire department to help him find the seven-year-old twin who had survived.
"He brought her presents, and got the mayor to make it her day," said Banks. "He brought her a crown for her head, and said, 'It's your day today."
Duffield said that Montoya has dreams of becoming a firefighter – and the station is going to help him fulfill that wish.
“We have a fire academy here. We’re giving him a scholarship for the academy. He’s given so much, and we’re going to give a little back to him,” said Duffield.
He added: "I told his mother that fires happen, no matter what we do, they’re going to happen. The gift you can give a firefighter is for a family to be sitting outside, saying, ‘We’re all here.’ We will lay down our lives to save them. We put our men and women in extraordinary situations.
"A smoke detector wakes them up, gets them outside, saves their lives. Not only is Hector saving the lives of these folks who wake up and hear the alarm, he’s also saving the lives of a firefighters who are first to respond to a scene, having to make a tough decision about sending people in. There’s a lot of layers of what he’s done,” he said.
Montoya will also be recognized at an upcoming city council meeting, where he’ll be given a certificate of appreciation, according to Duffield.