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First Responders Surprise 9-Year-Old Days Before His Third Open Heart Surgery

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — First responders paid a special home visit to a nine-year-old Sacramento boy ahead of his open heart surgery.

Zebedhiah Wells has idolized police officers and firefighters since he was a toddler. He's still a bit too young to join his heroes, so local departments pulled out all the stops for him to feel part of the team Wednesday.

The departments worked together to put on a special send-off before Zebedhiah goes into his third open heart surgery later this week.

When his heroes came down his street calling him outside, Zebedhiah was nearly speechless. He was born with a host of medical issues that have required long hospital stays and orders to stay indoors due to his compromised immune system.

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Zebedhiah's grandmother Virginia Wingate said this will be his 20th surgery. She said his first open heart surgery happened when he was five days old and the second when he was nine months old. Now, his third is set for the end of the week.

Sacramento police, sheriff's deputies and fire departments wanted to show Zebedhiah that they've got his back, especially after hearing how he supports other young patients.

"For the last six years, he gives out stuffed lions for courage and he prays for people who are either going through surgery or that are sick," Wingate said. "So, I think this... coming back. It's full circle. What he's given is now coming back to him."

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Under lights and sirens, a caravan of first responders drove him to a training facility where he got to explore fire trucks, meet a K9 officer, and even make friends with a helicopter pilot.

The nine-year-old was clearly in his element after crews introduced him to a fire hose. Knocking down traffic cones with the stream, he even yelled out to crews for more pressure on the hose.

His family said Wednesday's visit certainly helped calm his nerves about the procedure.

The picture perfect day with Sacramento's finest gave Zebedhiah the extra strength to take on his next big battle Friday morning at the UCSF Children's Hospital in San Francisco.

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