Metro boy with disabilities enjoys planes, puddles with military members at KC Air Show

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A little boy got to meet some of his heroes Friday morning at the Kansas City Airshow.

Three-year-old Nicholas Lee loves the military, and his appreciation made quite a splash with the servicemen and women.

Nicholas' mom, Kimberly, said he loves anyone in uniform - police men, firefighters, first responders, and especially members of the armed forces.

"We've been going to local stations, and then I have a lot of military friends. Both my kids just love anybody in uniform," Lee said. "They'll see them in Wal-Mart and yell at them until they get their attention and say, 'Hi."'

Nicolas was born with a birth defect on his left leg that required an amputation below the knee. A few weeks ago, he got his first prosthetic leg, which allowed him to walk independently.

"Since then, he's just really taken off," Lee said. "He just got his leg June 28, and he's pretty much already running and jumping. His physical therapist, everybody that's worked with him since he was a baby, is just amazed by how good he's doing."

With the Kansas City Airshow underway, Friends in Service of Heroes (FISH) thought Nicholas should meet some of his heroes face to face.

"To see his fascination with the aircraft, it warms our hearts. It makes us sentimental," Staff Sgt. Betty Chevalier, of the A10 Demonstration Team, said. "He's just this little boy, but he loves the military so much."

"He thinks these men are his heroes. He's our little hero," Paul Chapa, co-founder of FISH, said. "He's just an incredible little boy that's inspiring so many people."

Everyone expected him to get a kick out of the airplanes. However, heavy rain Friday morning led to a surprise - Nicholas was more interested in playing in the puddles on the tarmac. Naturally, the service members jumped in with him.

"You're going to have that distraction, but just to jump in and make that with him... It shows him that we're people too," Chevalier said.

"When he was first born, I didn't know if he'd ever be able to walk normal," Lee said. "But seeing him on his leg now, it was all worth it in the end because I know he's going to be able to have a normal life, and that's what's important. I don't know if they fully understand how thankful I am as a mom to see them show so much love to my kids."

The event runs Saturday, July 6, and Sunday, July 7, at the Downtown Airport with the Blue Angels. Gates open at 9  a.m. and shows will start at 10:30.

Hopefully, there will be fewer puddles at the airshow the rest of the weekend.

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