COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - In front of hundreds of friends and family, waiting to send their loved ones off into an unpredictable and dangerous job, Stephanie McMillan is smiling.
"He is getting to become something he's wanted to be since as long as I can remember," said McMillan.
She and her son, Richard, have become leaders in the world of living one day at a time.
But the inoperable brain tumor that's robbed Richard of mobility hasn't beaten his spirit or his love of law enforcement.
"He always tells officers, 'Thank you for protecting our world.' They're a group of people he looked up to, so he wanted to be a part of them," said McMillan.
Friday, Richard took his place on the force.
After being adopted by the 600th class to graduate from the Criminal Justice Academy, he got his badge. He's now an honorary deputy at the Richland County Sheriff's Department.
"Richard's proven to us that every day is a special day and these deputies understand that when they go out and do their jobs, they live by Richard's code," said Sheriff Leon Lott.
One by one, Richard's fellow graduating deputies shared mutual respect and a belief that nobody is guaranteed tomorrow, especially the ones who put themselves in harm's way.
"It's a God thing now," said McMillan. "There's nothing the medical community can do for him, so who knows what tomorrow holds."