ANTIOCH -- Ten-year-old Hunter Kilbourn doesn't remember everything about the frantic moments after he was mauled by two pit bulls. It's not something the paramedics and firefighters who rushed to his aid will soon forget.
"What I really tried to do was get his mind off everything, because he had a lot going on," said Antioch paramedic Mike Boehmer, who responded to the scene of the Aug. 11 attack. "So I was asking him questions like, 'What do you like to do for fun?' He told me he loves Legos. Ever since that day, I've been thinking I'd love to get him a Lego set from everyone here at the department. So that's what we did."
Monday afternoon, Hunter paid a visit to the firefighters and paramedics at Station 82 in Antioch. They presented him with a Lego firetruck set, along with a Fire Department cap and T-shirt.
"Awesome," Hunter said.
Hunter, a fourth-grader at Morello Park Elementary School in Martinez, was visiting a friend in Antioch when he was knocked down and attacked by two pit bulls in the house. He had bites to both sides of his face and the back of his head, as well as on both arms. He was airlifted to UC Davis Medical Center, where he had two surgeries, one in which his right ear was reattached, and was hospitalized for nine days.
He looked healthy and happy Monday. He still has a scar on his left cheek, a bandage on the right side of his face, where he has suffered nerve damage, and a scab on the back of his head.
Hunter has returned to school, going half-days for now. He has to stay inside during recess to keep his skin grafts from being overexposed to the sun. He will need further surgery, said his mother, Melody Ralls, who accompanied Hunter to the fire station along with her husband, Billy Ralls; their other son Logan, 2; and daughter Brooklyn, 7 months. They presented firefighters with a bucket of red licorice.
"You're the bravest patient I've ever had," Eddie Gonzales, who also responded on Aug. 11, told Hunter.
In addition to the Legos and the department apparel, Hunter got to sit in the driver's seat of a fire engine and was driven around the block with the engine's lights flashing. After that, Hunter and his family were invited inside the firehouse. They took pictures and emailed them to one another.
The reunion was one of many gifts Hunter has received since the attack. Among his favorites: an iPad and a book autographed by WWE wrestlers.
"People say they're faking," Hunter said, referring to the wrestlers. "But I say it's awesome."
Several local businesses, including Mountain Mike's Pizza, Buffalo Wild Wings and Great Clips have held fundraising events for Hunter. The local Moose Lodge held a pancake breakfast. And Contra Costa Cinema has invited him to watch a movie in his own private theater.
"Everybody has been so amazing and kind," Melody Ralls said. "I get so many messages I can't return them all." Billy Ralls said the family has been contacted by other pit bull attack victims from as far away as New York.
On advice from their attorney, the Ralls family has not been in touch with the owners of the pit bulls. The dogs are being held by animal control pending a Sept. 26 hearing that will determine their fate.
It was difficult to tell who enjoyed Monday's reunion more, Hunter or the firefighters.
"All I know," Hunter said, "is they're awesome, and they helped me a ton."
"This is the first call I've ever been on where I was thinking about it a lot afterward," said Boehmer, an eight-year veteran of the department. "It was kind of messing me up, too. So I've been looking forward to this day for a long time. This is awesome closure."
Contact Gary Peterson at 925-952-5053. Follow him at Twitter.com/garyscribe.