This teenager is getting parcels from emergency services around the world
Police officers and firefighters are answering the call from a Welsh teenager who is amassing a collection of badges and mementoes.
Emergency services around the world have a fan in South Wales.
John Morgan, 18, is the proud owner of hundreds of badges from police forces, fire departments and paramedics aross the globe as his appeal to collect mementoes from emergency workers has gone viral.
Parcels and packages from as far afield as New Zealand, Moldova, and the US have all turned up on his doorstep in South Wales as well as those from closer to home; Manchester, Warwickshire, and the Isle of Man.
But his family want to collect more badges – including at least one item from every US state, and badges from the rest of the UK.
John, who uses a wheelchair, lives with the life-limiting Duchenne muscular dystrophy and scoliosis.
His love of the emergency services was confirmed as a young child when his dad Paul, who worked as a lorry driver, had a friend with a fire engine that was converted into a limousine.
“Once it was converted John would come out with us in his baby seat,” said Paul. “He used to love going in the engine. If there was a charity car wash at a fire station, we would take the fire engine for a laugh.
“He’s got thousands of models of fire engines from around the world. It just grew and grew.”
And John’s just as keen on police forces as fire departments.
Recent parcels have arrived from Katy Police Department in Texas and Australia.
And, at Paul’s request, they all contain a letter explaining where it’s from and who sent it, so John can issue a personal reply via a video on his Facebook page.
The memorabilia now extends around the family home in Cardiff. In the living room are display cabinets filled with items sent from well-wishers over the past two years.
A blanket used to keep John warm in his wheelchair contains 150 badges.
A further 500 patch badges are being sewn together to make a continental quilt for his bed.
His mother Sharon, who is John’s carer, turned an old school coat into a cosy toes for his wheelchair, again covered with patches.
“He gets excited when there’s a parcel. He knows where to sit in the living room and we will open the parcel together. I will explain it to him.”
One recent package contained his first fire helmet from the US – the outgoing volunteer fire chief in Bel Air opted to donate his helmet to John on his retirement.
Another parcel included items from Glasgow Airport Fire Station. Other items in the collection are a New York Fire Department helmet used during 9/11 and a flight suit from Wales Air Ambulance.
And if John happens to get duplicated badges they don’t go unused. He might trade them for one from another emergency service with people online or offer them to other collectors like himself.
The family have also visited police and fire stations in the UK including CPMG in Birmingham, and Thames Valley Police in Oxfordshire.
Paul added: “We’re trying to get him worldwide recognition and emergency services have responded amazingly. We get letters, we get parcels. They might have a patch or a full uniform inside. It’s great.”
To make a donation, get in touch with John and his father Paul via the Facebook page.