Woman celebrates 100th birthday by taking long-awaited ride in fire truck

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When Ruby Brown turned 95, she celebrated by riding a motorcycle for the first time. When she turned 96, she finally went for a spin in a golf cart.

To celebrate her 100th birthday, Brown crossed the last – and biggest – item off her bucket list after going for a drive in a firetruck. It was an experience she’d been looking forward to for a long time.

“In the last four or five years, they’ll tell you that’s all I’ve talked about,” Brown said.

Brown, a Whiteland resident, and three family members – including a great-grandson who lives in Carmel – stopped by Carmel Fire Dept. Station 41 on May 16 for a quick tour of the city in CFD’s largest vehicle. Brown, whose 100th birthday is in October, was all smiles from the front passenger seat as the truck pulled out of the station.

“It was great. I enjoyed every minute of it,” she said after completing the ride.

It may have taken nearly 100 years for Brown to ride in a firetruck, but she’s no stranger to large vehicles. She used to live on a farm, where she drove combines and tractors and other large equipment. She also has experience as a bus driver and crossed the nation taking turns driving a semi-truck with her husband.

For Debbie Wood, watching her grandmother complete the ride was especially meaningful because the family doesn’t know how much time they have left together. Brown has a terminal diagnosis, Wood said, so the family is making the most of every opportunity.

“For her to be able to do part of her bucket list, especially at the end here, gives her more meaning to what her life has come to,” Wood said. “It makes her happy. (She had) a big smile on her face. That is everything to me. For her to have that happiness is everything.”

Riding in a fire truck wasn’t the only thing Brown experienced for the first time that day. It also marked her first visit to Carmel.

“I enjoyed it,” she said. “Your city looks very nice.”


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