Community rallies to support boy: Fire trucks, Batman come out for parade for Braxton Vaughn

Published 8:46 am Thursday, June 13, 2019

FAYETTE TOWNSHIP — “This is all for you,” Marissa Matt said to her son, Braxton Vaughn.

The family was standing along County Road 1 in front of the Fayette Township fire department as a parade of fire trucks, police cruisers and EMS vehicles made its way up the road.

Braxton, 5, the son of Matt and Scott Vaughn, of South Point, is student at the Burlington preschool. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in 2017 and underwent chemotherapy.

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Matt said Braxton’s cancer has returned and he recently had surgery, and is set for more chemo on Friday, and possible radiation treatment.

The event, organized by the Fayette Volunteer Fire Department and the Concerned Citizens of Burlington, was a show of community support for the boy, with multiple fire departments taking part in the event, which also served as a fundraiser.

It was a surprise for Braxton, who loves fire trucks.

And following the fire trucks was another of his favorites, Batman, portrayed by Heroes 4 Higher’s John Buckland, of Huntington.

“He loves Batman, and all the Avengers characters,” Matt said.

Buckland, who frequently visits children in hospitals and schools, pulled into the fire station in his replica of the 1989 Batmobile.

“I haven’t seen you in a while,” he said to Braxton.

He then proceeded to present Braxton with several gifts, including a Batman blanket, a replica Batarang and posters, bearing the slogan “Tough things make us stronger.”

He said when the boy was feeling better, he could distribute them to other children in the hospital.

After presenting the gifts, he then gave Braxton a ride in the Batmobile, accompanied by his mother.

When they returned, Batman said he had talked with the boy and they had come up with a slogan.

“Because he’s going to be going through this a second time, he’s going to be twice as strong,” he said, leading the crowd in a chant of “twice as strong.”

Several departments took part in the event, including crew members from Fayette, Chesapeake, Aid, Lawrence Township, Perry Township, Upper Township, as well as the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department, the Ohio State Highway patrol, Chesapeake fire chief Joey McMaster said. There were also crews from other states, including the Ashland, Kentucky and Green Valley, West Virginia fire departments.

Many in the crowd wore shirts reading “#BraxtonStrong,” the hashtag associated with his cause on social media.

“That’s his slogan,” Amanda Vaden, with the Fayette Township Fire Department, said.

She said donations are being collected for the family and that anyone interested can go to the Facebook page or contact her at 304-840-8818.