When BBQ Meets Heartwarming Surprises: Caleb’s Inspiring Journey

From The Smoker February 2, 2024
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To show our appreciation for the vital role first responders play in keeping the town safe, we recently hosted the 2nd Annual Apopka Police vs Apopka Fire BBQ Competition. While the two teams were putting their BBQ skills to the test, the community showed up and showed out to enjoy tasty BBQ and help us celebrate a special guest with a heartwarming surprise.  

At the award ceremony, we had the privilege of witnessing an incredibly moving moment as Caleb Dominguez’s lifelong dream of becoming a first responder was fulfilled. Caleb, a dedicated admirer of first responders, was sworn in as an honorary firefighter by the Apopka Fire Chief. His deep-seated admiration for those who serve as first responders has been a constant in his life, fueled by his aspiration to stand alongside them. Unfortunately, his disabilities and reliance on a wheelchair have posed physical challenges that prevent him from directly pursuing this dream firsthand. 

Despite the barriers that have limited his ability to serve and protect in the traditional sense, these challenges have never deterred Caleb’s dedication to supporting his local first responders in any way within his means. He generously uses his own funds to surprise the fire department with catered meals, offering them delicious comfort food during their demanding and lengthy shifts. Caleb is a huge fan of Sonny’s BBQ and often chooses us as his preferred meal of choice when deciding what warm, heartening meals to bring to the firehouse. 

We were thrilled to find out that he is a loyal fan of our BBQ, as we are quickly becoming big fans of his as well. He has touched our hearts with his story and we are so happy that we can be a small part of the incredible work he is doing to make our local first responders feel special. As a token of our appreciation, we also took a moment at the BBQ Competition to recognize Caleb with a special Random Acts of BBQ which included a certificate and a swag bag full of our favorite Sonny’s goodies.  

Caleb’s joy at becoming an honorary firefighter and his appreciation for the Sonny’s swag were noticeable during the event. When given the opportunity to address the crowd, he shared his favorite motto,

“When we work together, we don’t fall down.”


It struck a chord with everyone present, as it encapsulates the spirit of community and resilience. 

It was touching to see all the firefighters celebrate and interact with him after he became an honorary firefighter. The fire department has truly embraced him as one of their own and treat him like family. Their recent collective effort to purchase a new wheelchair lift for Caleb and his family, easing their transitions in and out of the car, exemplifies the strong bond they share. 

Caleb and his family brought an uplifting and refreshing presence to the BBQ competition, and we look forward to welcoming them back every year. To stay updated on Caleb’s inspiring initiatives for first responders, follow his journey on Instagram @calebsfirehouse

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