Last year residents of Vernon and Beauregard parishes, along with everyone around the world, were made aware of the eight year old boy from Vinton who asked for people to send him Christmas cards.

That boy is Drake Quibodeaux who was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a rare inoperable brain tumor that forms in the brain stem. Currently there is no effective treatment and no chance of survival.

Only 5 percent of those with DIPG survive the first year and only 1 percent with DIPG survive for 2 years following their diagnosis.

The median survival time is 9 months from diagnosis. Drake received his diagnosis on March 11, 2018.

Drake received over 140,000 Christmas cards and the family still have several crates of unopened cards.

“Life took over and we had to stop counting,” his mother Danielle said when asked how many cards Drake received following his request.

On Friday members of JRTC and Fort Polk Garrison along with several units made Drake’s dream of being a soldier, like his father Christopher, come true.

Among those present to watch Drake take his oath were his parents Danielle and Christopher, his brothers Haidyn and Gunner, and John Paul, a cousin.

His day started with a military police escort from the gate to Warrior Memorial Park where LTC Sonja Whitehead of the 519th MP Battalion administered the Oath of Enlistment making him an honorary soldier.

Following his oath Drake was given a demonstration by the Special Reaction Team (SRT) that included lights and sirens on a speeding truck, an explosion and a police K9 who took down a running suspect.

Next, he visited the Fort Polk Fire Department where he was given a ride in a fire truck and a demonstration of the water canons.

Later on in the day Drake was also given a weapons demonstration, he ate lunch in the dining facility, and he had a meeting with Post Commander BG Patrick Frank and Garrison personnel where they discussed military strategy.

One final stop for Drake was at 3rd Brigade, 10th Mountain where 5th Battalion, 25th Field Artillery Regiment presented Drake with a canister with a 3D 105 round.

Following a long day full of activities Drake was promoted to a Command Sergeant Major in the U.S. Army.

Drake’s mother said that Fort Polk inviting Drake to take the oath of enlistment and become an honorary soldier is a dream come true for him.

It is amazing for him being able to do it in front of his family, particularly his father who was stationed at Fort Polk for five and a half years. “He gets to make memories with his son,” she said.

Drake’s only wish for the day was to blow stuff up. He likes to shoot guns and blow stuff up when he can.

According to his mother, the events on Friday will probably be the last event Drake will be able to do.

He is currently in hospice care and the family is making the most of the days they have left with Drake.

They are extremely grateful to Fort Polk and everyone who came together to give Drake a military experience and them the wonderful memories they will forever cherish.