Huntley 5-year-old Carter Kettner has three dream jobs: police officer, firefighter and ice cream truck driver.
On Friday, two of those dreams came true.
Carter, who has been diagnosed with a malignant, inoperable brain tumor, was a police officer and firefighter for a day, thanks to the Bartlett Police Department and Bartlett Fire Protection District.
The grandson of a retired firefighter, Carter learned the ins and outs of public safety – taking the oath of office, riding in a squad car, eating chow with firefighters and even arresting a perp.
Though he appeared tired from the cancer treatment, Carter put on a brave face and appeared delighted to be living his childhood fantasy.
“This is the best day ever!” Carter announced as he munched on a chocolate-frosted doughnut at the Bartlett police headquarters.
Bartlett Police Officer Amy Jenkins helped organize the day of activities for Carter after she heard about him from her mother, who works at a hospital with Carter’s mother, Cinnamon.
“It’s amazing to see a department like this come together,” said Carter’s father, Joe. “It really means so much to us that so many people would go out of their way to make a special day.”
Carter’s day began ceremoniously. Surrounded by family and Bartlett police officers, Carter was wheeled into a police conference room, where he was outfitted in a Bartlett police uniform and administered the oath of office.
Carter’s training continued at the police shooting gallery, where he made Swiss cheese out of a paper target with a practice gun.
Next, the 5-year-old took a short ride in a police squad car, playing with the sirens and lights before pulling over a delinquent and making an “arrest.” After handcuffing the criminal, Carter slammed the door of the squad car and said, “I’ll see you in court!”
Carter met with Police Chief Dan Palmer before heading to the Bartlett fire station, where he enjoyed a hot lunch cooked by the firefighters and received a firefighter uniform, gear and his own locker.
“We pretty much put our day on hold for him,” said Lt. Bill Filpi with the fire protection district. “One little smile was enough that it was worth it.”
Carter’s fun will continue on Friday, Aug. 7, when Huntley Village President Chuck Sass will proclaim “Carter Kettner Day.” The 5-year-old will get a ride in a Wal-Mart truck at the new Supercenter on Route 47 and celebrate the day with Huntley police officers and firefighters.
Carter is being treated at Children’s Memorial Hospital in Chicago and is preparing to enter kindergarten at Mackeben Elementary School in Algonquin.
“He cannot wait to get on the school bus,” Carter’s father said.
To learn more about Carter or make a donation to help defray the cost of Carter’s treatment, visit carterkettner.org.