PHICO – A seven-year-old got something for his birthday that every child would love, a fire truck. That may seem like a typical gift for a little boy, but this fire truck is something he can really drive.
Caden is the son of Tiffany Robinson, who is a Logan County Probation Officer, and West Virginia State Police Corporal Joe Robinson, who is currently assigned to the Executive Protection Detail at the Governor’s Mansion. Caden has a sister Chloe Lynn, 3. He also has a half-brother Bryce Robinson, 15, who lives with his mother and step-father in Kopperston, W.Va.
Caden Lee Robinson and his grandfather Earl Robinson share a love for equipment. Earl said the two of them owned a little Bobcat excavator until February 2012. When Earl decided to sell the excavator, he asked Caden what he wanted to replace it with and he told him a fire truck.
Earl went on the hunt for the components he would need to build the truck and started an eight-month project. Earl figures it took approximately 1200 man hours, with 1000 of them being his.
Earl found a Cushman utility cart in Ohio and went there to purchase and bring it home. Greg Blevins with Pro Auto Body donated the paint. He had a friend in Virginia who found the stainless steel water hookups for the truck.
Once he started work on the project, his wife Debi and several others helped him along the way. Earl says Kenny and Mike Adkins helped with the electrical wiring for the truck. According to Earl, the work wasn’t hard, just very tedious and time consuming — an excellent project to teach him patience. When asked what the hardest part was, Earl said it was working with the diamond-plate aluminum because the “bends had to be perfect.”
The fire truck is 15 feet long, has a hose that can be used with the water refillable fire extinguisher on board, a back-up alarm, all LED lights, a flashing warning light on top of the cab and a siren that works. The total cost for the project, excluding labor, was $5200.
Earl started to install a tank to hold water for the truck, but Caden’s dad was afraid he would be all too happy to use the hose on everything in the neighborhood.
Decals that look like the real thing declare Caden Lee Robinson as Fire Chief on one door and the other acknowledges Caden’s sister Chloe Lynn Robinson as Assistant Fire Chief.
The family had a birthday party for Caden at the community recreation center. He had seen the truck off and on during the process and had even helped work on it at times, but he had not seen the finishing touches or the end result. The family pulled the truck around with the lights and siren announcing its arrival. Caden jumped up and down with excitement and couldn’t wait to take his place in the driver’s seat.
A gift like that would be pretty hard to top – for most people. Caden has already put in his request for a follow-up project. He would like to have a Chessie System Locomotive.
“I don’t know if I can do it,” said Earl, “I have to see how hard it will be to find the materials I would need for it.”