Small boy, engineer’s heart

News Article / September 8, 2017

By Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessy

14 Wing Greenwood’s 14 Construction Engineering Squadron grew by one member on August 23, 2017, as Emerson Murphy-Tanner was “sworn in” by Major Craig Bradshaw, the squadron’s commanding officer, in his kitchen in a community close to Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Emerson couldn’t come to the squadron headquarters for two reasons: he is only five years old, and he needed a nap.

When Major Bradshaw heard this boy’s story, he knew Emerson had the heart of an engineer, and 14 CES needed someone just like him to join its ranks.

Emerson arrived home August 20, 2017, after an extended stay at the IWK (Izaak Walton Killam) Health Centre, which includes a children’s hospital) in Halifax, where he underwent a serious operation to fix his heart. Emerson has Heterotaxy Syndrome, a rare condition that causes organs to be arranged differently from their normal placement, resulting in heart defects. The condition affects an estimated one in every 10,000 babies. It first showed up during Emerson’s 20-week anatomy ultrasound. Since birth, he has had three open-heart surgeries: the first when he was just 13 days old, another at six months and, most recently, on July 27.

Emerson is truly an inspiration given all that he has endured during his life, but he is not one to be kept down! He cannot wait to strap on his skates and take to the ice again in September to further his figure skating lessons with the Bridgewater Skating Club, where he skated in the CanSkate program this past spring. Since he has arrived back home from his most recent hospital stay, his appetite has been that of a warrior.

He was very excited to join the ranks of the Royal Canadian Air Force and, once he figured out how his Air Force beret, with its engineer cap badge, went on, he was ready to pose for post-enlistment photos. He is now part of a family of Canadian military engineers.

Emerson still has a long road ahead of him, with many visits to specialists, and procedures that may eventually lead to a heart transplant, but for now, he is the epitome of a happy boy who just wants to do what everyone else can – and most certainly will find a way to get that done!

CHIMO, Emerson!

Honorary Colonel Dan Hennessey serves with 14 Construction Engineering Squadron.

This story first appeared in the The Aurora Newspaper, and is reprinted here with permission.

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