Grand Rapids boy named honorary soldier


WALKER, Mich. (WOOD) — Thanks to the U.S. Army Reserves, Stocking Elementary School and area emergency responders and veterans, one seven-year-old will face a major challenge as an honorary soldier.

For the past few years, Xzayvier Burchard-Mease has told his mom he wants nothing more than to serve in the U.S. Army.

He won’t be able to serve his country like he wants to though, because at four-years-old doctors found two tumors in his right leg. Sadly, Xzayvier will likely need it amputated.

“By the time they took the two masses out they took all the cartilage. He has no cartilage in his knee so it wouldn’t bend properly,” his mom, Christine Burchard told 24 Hour News 8.

A special surprise, weeks in the making, made him forget about all of that. It started with a visit to his classroom by Army Spc. Larry Harris.

Then with the help of the army reserves, emergency responders, military members, veterans and his fellow classmates, Xzayvier’s dream of becoming a soldier came true.

Spc. Harris met Xzayvier in September.

“It’s just the determination I had seen inside of him and he was telling me ‘Hey I’m going to do whatever I can to still be in the fight with military. He’s a part of the team now. Anything we can do to help him out and make him feel loved and keep the fight inside of him we’re willing to do it,” Harris told 24 Hour News 8.

Xzayvier still has a lot of hardship ahead of him, but now he and his family will face it as an honorary soldier.

“He’s phenomenal. He’s my inspiration. That’s what I tell him every day. I tell him if you could do this, we could fight anything together,” Burchard said.

For now, Xzayvier will continue going through physical therapy. December is when his family will make a decision about what to do with his condition but they’re remaining as positive as possible.