In August 2016, just before his fourth birthday, Colt Cowell was diagnosed with a malignant brain tumor. One year later, family and friends celebrated his last chemotherapy treatment with a parade of first responders in his honor arranged by the East Carolina University Police Department.
Colt was greeted by police officers and K-9s from ECU, the City of Greenville, Town of Winterville, Town of Ayden, Vidant Health Services and Pitt Community College. Pitt County Basic Law Enforcement Training students, Greenville Fire and Rescue, and the Pitt County Sheriff’s Office also participated.
Lt. Chris Sutton, ECU Police, worked with Vidant staff members to plan the parade around the hospital. He knew Colt loved law enforcement, fire and EMS.
“I met Colt and his family last year about this same time, when they began their journey through chemo. They were special guests of the ECU PD at a November football game in 2016,” Sutton said. “When he neared the end of treatment it seemed like giving Colt a parade around the health sciences campus and Vidant was just the right way to honor him.”
The escort included over 18 police cars, and the guest of honor got to ride in a fire engine from Greenville Fire and Rescue. The fire truck led the way from the transportation entrance of the James and Connie Maynard Children’s Hospital and pulled over down the road so Colt could see the police cars drive by with the lights flashing.
Many in Colt’s inner circle wore matching T-shirts that read “Colt Strong” with a Bible verse: “He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted.” Job 5:9.
Members of ECU football, women’s basketball and dance teams, as well as Vidant employees, were among those helping celebrate Colt’s big day.
Personally knowing Colt or just hearing his story made no difference to those participating in the parade. Dry eyes were hard to come by.
-by Morgan Tilton, ECU News Services