Firefighters build backyard deck for colleague who died of cancer

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 11 2013 5:55 p.m. MDT

After surgery and two chemotherapy treatments, an MRI revealed the cancer had actually spread.

"It's just not working," she recalled their crestfallen doctor telling them. "So it's probably time to send him home."

"He cried. We cried together," Ballard said upon receiving the news.

Now that her husband is gone, Ballard said she will use the deck for what it was intended: a gathering place for family to enjoy each other.

"So that's what I need to do," she said with tears in her eyes. "So it's very tender for me to see our grandchildren."

The deck was expected to be completed by Thursday. Ballard is delaying her husband's funeral so attention can be given to a family wedding in New Mexico this weekend before others have to worry about a funeral. It was a family member who spent a lot of time with Bruce Ballard before his death. Shanna Ballard wanted to make sure she got to have a wedding and honeymoon without having to miss the funeral.

As for the firefighters who donated their time, materials and sweat to build her new deck, she wants to plan an open house or barbecue — or a party with ice cream, her husband's favorite treat.

"I did not realize how close that brotherhood was with firefighters. My eyes have been opened tremendously," she said. "The goodness that surrounds us is amazing."


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