Camp Mabry holds honorary enlistment ceremony for eight-year-old battling rare disorder

A New Braunfels boy is not letting his disorder get in the way of reaching his goals.

Friday, his family and soldiers at Camp Mabry gave him the surprise of his life.

Friday was a big day for this little soldier. He was diagnosed with Shwachmann-Diamond Syndrome, a rare disorder that does not allow his bone marrow to function correctly, and the National Guard is taking him in.

"It's devastating, when you find out that your child has something that you cannot fix, you're a bystander on the sideline," said Brian Windham, Rowan's father.

In his eight years, Rowan has spent nearly one-thousand days in the hospital, and is headed for Seattle in hopes of a bone marrow donor. Before he does that, the Camp Mabry family wants to grant him his biggest wish, to be enlisted in the Army.

"He actually enlisted himself on a piece of paper, a couple of years ago and said, "I Rowan Windham join the army for five dollars, he said he would pay the army,'" said Brian Windham.

Little did he know, the Army will pay him when he is older. When asked why he wants to be a soldier, his answer was simple and selfless.

"I love to help others and help people," he said.

At the end of the ceremony, General Sean Ryan of Camp Mabry gave Rowan a Stetson hat and a pair of spurs that he says recognizes his ability to move forward and think positively.

"I have an eight-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter, so kind of the same family members. It's great to see Rowan be so strong and so independent in his current situation," Ryan said.

Rowan's family say their faith is what keeps them strong, and despite his predicament, he continues to be a symbol of courage.

"Thank you and this is the best day of my entire life," said Rowan.

Rowan's got his chance to become an honorary guardsman after telling his nurse at children's hospital in San Antonio that he wanted to be in the Army.

It turns out that nurse was a member of the Texas Army National Guard.