Remembering Sgt. Rollin' Nolan one year later

Hollywood, MD- It’s been one year since the Southern Maryland community gathered to remember a young boy who touched so many lives.

On Feb. 4, 2017, 4 year old Nolan Scully—or Sgt. Rollin’ Nolan—lost his battle with a rare form of cancer.

Nolan’s story of strength and courage gripped the local community. His parents, Jonathan and Ruth Scully shared Nolan’s battle on a Facebook page called #NolanStrong. The Leonardtown boy fought for 16 months to beat Rhabdomyosarcoma--a rare soft tissue cancer. More than a hundred thousand people followed his fight on his Facebook page.

Sadly, in the end, the cancer was too much for Nolan’s tiny body. He passed away in the arms of his parents at Georgetown Hospital.

In the days following his death, thousands of Southern Marylanders came out to offer their love and condolences for the Scully family. Dozens gathered along Routes 235 and 5 in St. Mary’s County when several fire trucks and police officers escorted the hearse carrying little Nolan back home.

Among the escort were members of the Washington Metropolitan Police Department as well as the Leonardtown and Hollywood Volunteer Fire Department and Patuxent River Fire Department.

At a life celebration a few days later, the Scully family welcomed thousands of visitors who came to pay their respects for the family and to say farewell to the courageous boy who fought so hard.

Nolan wanted to be a police officer and was nicknamed Sgt. Rollin’ Nolan. He was sworn in for the first time by his “Boss”, Mr. Richard Ross, police commissioner of Philadelphia, PA. Nolan would get on his portable radio at night to talk to his “Boss” and share the “action” from that day. And Nolan loved police motorcycles and firetrucks. He was a true boy in the sense that he loved anything with wheels.

Nolan’s second passion was dinosaurs. Jurassic World was his favorite and he loved sharing his knowledge of dinosaurs.

But more than dinosaurs and trucks, Nolan loved his family. His older sister, Leila, was his best friend. He loved “slimy” kisses from his baby brother, Brayden. Nolan loved helping his dad with yard work. And he loved his mother. Nolan would tell his mother he loved her more than all of the police cars and firetrucks in the whole universe.

In a recent Facebook post, Ruth reminded followers to fight for more childhood cancer research. She also thanked everyone for their love and support throughout 2017, and, most importantly, for loving Sgt. Rollin’ Nolan.

Nolan’s life was short but his legacy will have a lasting impact on so many.
Our thoughts remain with the Scully family.

Contact Joy Shrum at

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