LUGOFF, SC (WIS) - A young South Carolina boy -- like all young boys do at some point -- decided to ditch his Halloween costume and be just like his father for Halloween, but this costume has special meaning for his family.
Lugoff resident Ashley Sellers Nicks posted about her son, Gunner, and his effort to come up with a Halloween costume this year. Gunner had apparently chosen to be the superhero Flash before a moment in TJ Maxx caused him to change his mind.
"Well we happened to be shopping in TJ Maxx one day and he started screaming with excitement. It's actually scared me [because] I didn't know what was going on and he saw this costume and was freaking out," Nicks wrote. "He said, 'I got to have this costume Mommy. I want to be a state trooper just like my Daddy! It looks just like his uniform!'"
Ashley's husband, Richard Nicks, was a proud member of the South Carolina Highway Patrol when he was struck by a drunk driver less than a mile from his home while he was on duty in 2012.
Nicks said her husband's patrol car was struck on the driver's side after the driver ran a stop sign. The crash altered his life forever.
"It broke his back and caused major nerve damage to his right leg," Nicks said. "He has has had four back surgeries and two surgeries recently done on his feet to help him walk better. He was medically retired from the Highway Patrol and with the injuries that he got that day because someone made a choice to drink and drive, my husband will never work again."
Nicks said it was her husband's dream to become a trooper.
"It has been a mental physical and emotional struggle for Richard since all this happened because he truly loved what he did," Nicks said. "He misses it everyday but moments like this with Gunner wanting to be just like his hero make him feel so much better!"
The recent death of South Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Daniel Rebman was already weighing heavily on Nicks' mind, she wrote.
"My heart has hurt so much this past week for the state trooper who passed away. Watching his funeral could have easily been us 5 years ago. When I say my heart hurts for his family it truly does. Richard may no longer physically work everyday [because] he was hit by a drunk driver while working but he will always be our hero."
And so, little Gunner is finally getting his chance to be just like his father, even though Nicks had already bought another costumer for the little guy.
"It cost more than it should have but totally worth it to see him and Richard bond together in that moment when Gunner got to show him his costume," Nicks said.
Happy Halloween, Gunner!