Every day, Eleck has to go through treatments to manage his cystic fibrosis. Staying healthy as possible requires a long list of medication and hours of therapy. But he’s not the type of kid who will let it get him down. He’s just not a complainer.
Well, there is just one complaint – Eleck’s condition makes it impossible for him to follow in his grandfather’s footsteps to be an Army Ranger. He understands it and accepts it. But today, he at least has an idea of the ideals his grandfather upheld, the sacrifices he made and the professionalism of the people who served alongside him.
A Look Into Life as an Army Ranger
The 75th Ranger Regiment heard about Eleck through Make-A-Wish®. Its personnel welcomed Eleck and his family to Fort Benning in Georgia to offer a glimpse into their lives and work. They also included his younger brother, Bryce, to be part of the experience.
Eleck’s wish is far from the first the Army has granted. Over the decades, soldiers all across the country have helped transform the lives of wish kids; they’ve run wish kids through training, given them behind-the-scenes tours and sent them home with souvenirs that will always remind them that they’re now part of something bigger than themselves.
During Eleck’s wish, he saw equipment demonstrations, trained alongside Rangers and even took part in a simulated rescue mission into a deep ravine.
Connecting with the Rangers
There’s something about participating in a wish that changes people. It leaves them feeling like they’ve made the world better, and like they want to keep on doing what they can to help others.
"It was about us putting our minds to making Eleck's wish come true. Rangers don't fail their Ranger buddies," said Sgt. 1st Class Miltiades Houpis, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, Regimental Special Troops Battalion, 75th Ranger Regt. "Without a shadow of a doubt, Eleck believes with his heart and mind that he is an Army Ranger."
Cpl. Patrick Crum agrees that there was just something special about participating in a wish, something that just felt right and reminded him of being Eleck’s age.
"This was a really humbling experience for all of us," Crum said. "We've been hanging out with them like they were one of the boys because that's what Rangers are all about."
“Several of the Rangers said it was the single greatest thing they did in their Army career,” said Eleck’s mother, Kimberly.
How Eleck’s Wish Made His Life Better
When Eleck found out his wish would come true, he was in the middle of a tough winter health-wise. It took nearly seven months before he was healthy enough for his wish. The promise of a wish was a great motivator.
After the wish, Kimberly noticed that Eleck wanted to keep living by the Ranger values and principles. He prizes the tan beret he received during his wish. It’s his reminder that he has people who are counting on him to stay strong, to face his treatments and to stay positive.
You can help wish kids, like Eleck, find their strength to overcome obstacles they face every day. Select the Make-A-Wish Foundation® of America, CFC #11375, and help us achieve our vision of granting every eligible child’s wish.