First responders thank disabled man for his support with surprise

Responders surprised Zac Cannady, who has spina bifida, with a helicopter ride to thank him for his years of support

By EMS1 Staff

ALBERTVILLE, Ala. — First responders said “thank you” to a disabled man who has shown strong support for them by surprising him with a helicopter ride.

WHNT reported that Zac Cannady, who was born with spina bifida, has had a lifelong passion for emergency services.

"Zac was born in 1986 with a birth defect called spina bifida. He's been in a wheelchair his entire life," Zac’s dad, Joey, said. "When he was about seven he fell in love with emergency services type things, fire, police."

Zac served as a dispatcher for one year. Joey said “his health has not been able to allow him to do that, but he loves it.”

"He would probably want to be an air medic. That's what I would guess he would be," Joey added.

First responders in the area said they know Zac very well as he likes to participate in any way he can.

"He'll be listening to the scanners, he'll call us up and say 'Hey, you're fixing to get a flight', and sure enough, we're ready. We're out the door already sitting in the helicopter when they call. So that's saving lives," LifeSaver flight medic Don Wilson said.


Responders wanted to thank Zac, so they showed up at a church event that Zac puts on annually and filled the parking lot with emergency vehicles, as well as an extra surprise.

"We're officially coming up to show the helicopter for the kids, for Zac," Wilson said, "Unofficially, we're going to do an appreciation day for Zac."

Zac went into the helicopter and was given a plaque and a LifeSaver patch.

"There's another part to this, Zac," Wilson said to him, "All the EMS community would like to take this opportunity to thank you."

Zac was then told there was a stipulation — he had to take a ride in the helicopter. He immediately said yes, and Wilson said the trip was a way to thank him for his years of support.


Zac Cannady earning his wings patch today!

Posted by Chris Brock on Wednesday, May 9, 2018

"He's been backing EMS since he was seven years old, he's just been interested in it. So we would like to show him appreciation for what he does.”

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