TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - A Father's day wish came true for a Tucson Police Sergeant and his wife, Jeff and Stacie Mockbee.
The couple hoped to collect 1,600 birthday cards for their son Jacob's 16th birthday. Jacob was born with Spina Bifida and Hydrocephalus. Doctors did not think he would make it past his first birthday.
More than 55 surgeries later, Jacob was in high spirits and ready to celebrate his 16th birthday, little did he know what surprises lay in store on that Fathers day weekend.
Stacie Mockbee said they had asked Jacob what he wanted for his 16th birthday. He said he wanted a driver's licence. They knew that was not possible, so the idea came to try and collect 1,600 cards for their son's birthday.
The family put out the call on Facebook and asked the Tucson Police Officers Association and the Fraternal Order of Police for help.
Jeff Mockbee said the two organizations were dedicated to helping make this happen. Officers dedicated themselves to spreading the word among law enforcement agencies throughout the country.
The call for help also spread fast on Facebook. The result exceeded the Mockbee's wildest imagination. The final count: 4,600 cards from all over the world in less than a month.
Jacob's response when he saw the cards decked around his living room was simply, "wow."
The 16-year old seemed overwhelmed to see not just the cards, but all the people there to greet him, and all the gifts he received from strangers around the country.
Jacob's father, Sgt. Jeff Mockbee said they got one card from every state in the country.
"We were short Delaware and Maine, both came in, in the last couple of days," said Mockbee.
Jacob also received cards from Japan, Australia, France, and several different countries. The Phoenix Suns, University of Arizona football players, Ms. Arizona Piper Stoeckel, the Tim Tebow foundation, and Jacob's crush- Food Network Star Giada De Laurentiis also sent in a personally signed card for Jacob.
"I knew that one would just put him over the moon," said Stacie Mockbee.
"What? Giada? Wow. How funny," Jacob had a big smile as he saw the card sent to him by De Laurentiis.
It was a very special moment for the Mockbee's as they watched their son take it all in. They were appreciative of every birthday they could spend with their little boy.
"His body continues to give up a little bit every year, but his attitude just soars. He is the most appreciative, happiest little boy. He's never met a stranger. It's the best way to describe it," said Jeff Mockbee, as he tried to hold back his tears.
Jacob went around the room, with expressions of "Wow" and "Thank you", as he saw each new card and poster. He even turned to the news media at one point and said "Thank you all for being here."
Even though Jacob shared his birthday with Father's Day, Jeff Mockbee was happy to turn the attention over to his son.
"We didn't know Jacob was going to be here at 16, so for a father on Father's Day to see his son happy and loved, nothing can surpass that. It's what being a father is all about," said Jeff Mockbee.
A representative from the Pima County Sheriff's office stopped by to present gifts and a card from Sheriff Clarence Dupnik. They even brought a Sheriff's cruiser and motorcycle.
When asked how he felt about all of this, Jacob said, ""I just wanted to say thank you. Thank you for letting me celebrate on your day dad. Happy Father's Day dad."
The Mockbee's were grateful to the TPOA, FOP, Walmart, Chick-Fil-A, Jim Click, and countless other organizations who stepped up and helped make Jacob's birthday special. They planned to spend the next few days opening the cards and sending out a few thank you cards to those who really went above and beyond to help.