KINGSPORT, TN (WJHL)- After a long battle with heart and lung problems a 7-year-old boy from Sullivan County passed away two years ago.
Weston Keeton’s story captured the hearts of people across the country.
Now, each year on March 23rd, the anniversary of his death, his family honors his legacy by feeding firefighters.
Last year Weston’s family started the event “Feed the Fire” asking people to bring snacks or meals to their local fire departments. It spread around the country feeding over 100 fire departments.
“When Weston grew up he wanted to be a fireman,” Weston’s older brother Easton said. “One time a fire truck came and they drove up right beside the hospital and they raised their ladder so he could see them in the bucket, and they waived to him. And then one time the fire alarm went off and the firemen came and he was so happy about that, it was one of the best parts ever.”
Firefighters and thousands of others came around the Keetons during Weston’s long battle.
“I think back to how we were two years ago today we were just filled with so much hope. I just couldn’t imagine our baby being taken. And he had fought so hard, we had so many people praying for us. And I hated, I hated to think about what life would be like without him,” Weston’s Mom Julie Keeton said.
Keeton said a week before Weston passed away, “We walked in and he was so sick, and he was just not himself at all. It was the beginning of the end, and we, while we still had hope, we kind of had to give that to God and say maybe his time is done, maybe he would be in a better place if he was in heaven, and maybe he was sent here for a bigger purpose then we may ever know,” Keaton said.
Keaton said her prayers begin to change after that.
“When Weston was really sick, I prayed every day God just let him get better, let him get these heart and lungs, let us go home to Tennessee. We were so focused on him getting better, and then after he got the heart and lungs, we realized he was getting really sick, we prayed we just wanted him to be well, whether he was going to be well here on earth or whether he was going to be well here in heaven,” Keeton said.
Weston passed away March 23rd, 2014, a day now known to Weston’s mom, dad, and seven siblings as his “angel-versary.”
“When he got in to heaven it was a celebration, and it may have broke my heart here on earth, but it was a celebration and all of our family members that are in heaven were there to see him and Jesus was there to love on him, and he was made whole. He didn’t have a broken heart anymore, he didn’t have oxygen anymore. And so for me, angel-versary is just the best word to describe it,” Keeton said.
This year will mark Weston’s second angel-versary and the second year of “Feed the Fire.”
Right before Weston had his last open heart surgery, the Keetons found out they were pregnant. So for the youngest Keeton, “Feed the Fire” is a way to connect with her older brother.
“Especially for Kinley who hasn’t got to meet Weston yet, she will learn about his legacy to see all of these wonderful people who came together in honor of her brother,” Keeton said.
“It was very special, I thought that it was a great way of honoring my brother and helping the firemen kind of giving back for how they have given to my brother,” Easton Keeton said.
“I hope that he’s proud of us and I hope this is something for our other children that they can do just to honor him and let people know what a blessing they were to our lives during such a hard time,” Julie Keeton said.
Easton said his brother would love how his angel-versary is now celebrated each year.
“I think that he’d be excited to tell you the truth. He’d be excited, he’d be happy, he’d be all over the place,” Easton said.
Last year the Keetons posted the information for “Feed the Fire” online and it spread across the country, even communities in Hawaii and Alaska were feeding their firefighters.
“Even though he was only seven years old he’s touched millions of lives, that’s amazing,” Keeton said.
If you you want to feed your local first-responders on Weston’s angel-versary this year, March 23rd, 2016, sign up at www.westonswarriors.com.
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