Saving Nolan: Boy gets first day of school surprise from Spokane Fire Department

Saving Nolan: Boy gets first day of school surprise from Spokane Fire Department

The start of September makes good, each year, on several guarantees- the changing of seasons, the shortening of days and the start of the school year.

But for Nolan Garrison, and his family, starting school at all was never a guarantee.

The 4-year-old was born with dangerous kidney condition. On Labor Day weekend in 2014, Nolan was under the eye of his grandmother, Michelle Mulligan.

Mulligan heard her infant grandson making noises in the back of the car, and when she looked back to check on him she noticed he was struggling to breathe and was turning blue.

She took the boy into a store nearby, where staff called 911. The call triggered an alert on the Pulse Point app, which pinpoints emergency calls. At the time, the app had only been around for about seven months.

A block or so away, mechanic Jeff Olson saw that the notification on his phone, and ran to help. He gave Nolan CPR until fire crews arrived and could take over.

The four years that have passed since that day have seen Nolan grow into a happy and energetic kid, even though medical issues aren’t completely off his family’s radar.

But, on Tuesday, September made good on its guarantee- Nolan started preschool.

“Miracles happen. One thing leads to another to another to another and miracles are possible,” Michelle Mulligan said.

When the Spokane Fire Department heard Nolan was headed to school, it planned a special surprise sendoff with the boy’s family.

At 11:15 a.m. on Tuesday a fire engine arrived at Nolan’s house to drive him to preschool. The firefighters inside were the same crews who arrived on scene four years ago and brought Nolan to the hospital.

But when they got to the school, one more surprise was waiting for Nolan.

Jeff Olson, the mechanic who reached the boy first that day, heard about the plan and knew he had to be part of it as well.

“He went through a struggle and they called me and said he’s going to do this today and I said, ‘ just have to go and see him, support him'” Olson said.

He and Nolan have met before- they’re buddies, Olson said, and it shows when they’re together. Olson and the family were also part of a photo shoot when the Pulse Point program that alerted Olson to Nolan’s emergency and saved his life was implemented in Washington, D.C.

More information about Pulse Point can be found here.