COLORADO SPRINGS — When The Classical Academy’s Graduating Class of 2022 settles in for the final ceremony of their high school careers, most will look out to find their parents and their brothers and sisters among the crowd – maybe their grandparents will attend.
Senior Chloe Huddle’s supporters will include those guests, too, but she has another, more unusual addition: Colorado Springs Firefighter Alan Kent.
“He’ll probably start crying,” Chloe said.
After all, their bond began forming at the very moment Huddle was born, 18 years ago. Kent was there, at the Huddle home in Briargate, responding to an emergency call.
“We had a very fast labor and we called 911,” Stacy Huddle, Chloe’s mom, said. “She was my third. You’d think I’d have known by then.”
Huddle’s own mother chuckled in the background.
And Kent’s memory of the day began before he even got inside the house.
“I remember pulling up and hearing [Stacy] screaming from outside,” he said. “I said, ‘I think we’re having a baby.'”
Luckily Kent knew what to do, he said he’s “had a couple” such events through his 30 plus years as a firefighter.
And Chloe’s parents were thankful he was able to keep both her and Stacy safe during delivery.
“[My parents] went to the fire station a week after I was born to just thank them for saving her life and my life,” Chloe said.
And it didn’t end there.
“I had my own firefighter,” Chloe laughed. “He’s just kind of like – he’s part of our family now. His wife and their son is our family.”
She keeps a shelf dedicated to Kent in her room.
And for 18 years, Kent and Chloe have celebrated her birthday (and his, a week later) at Station 15 in Colorado Springs.
“When I went to my friend’s birthday parties, they were at home,” Chloe said. “I always had a party with a firefighter. We’d have cake and Chipotle.”
Next year, the celebration may look a lot different. Chloe plans to attend Grand Canyon University in Phoenix this fall. She wants to study nursing, just as her mom and older sister have.
So their February birthday celebration may need to be held during a video call.
But there’s another agreement in the works.
“We made this little pact,” Kent said. He’d promised to be there for Chloe’s graduation, if she’d go to his retirement party.
He’ll fufill his part of the deal Friday night, at Chloe’s graduation ceremony. He says she has about a year or so to get ready for his retirement. His plans then, he says, will be “to catch [his] breath and relax.”
“He’s been in the field for so long. I think it’s good for him to retire. He’s done such an amazing job,” Chloe said.
But through all those years of service, Kent says Chloe’s birth and the ensuing relationship between his family and the Huddles was probably the highlight.
“It’s one of those good things that happened on the job,” he said.