Man with cerebral palsy serves as firefighter for a day

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Man With Cerebral Palsy Gets to Be Firefighter for a Day

GIRARDVILLE -- Some innovation is lifting the spirits of a man with disabilities in Schuylkill County.

Video posted to Facebook by firefighters in Girardville has gone viral. It shows Terry O'Boyle with his power chair turned into a special firefighting apparatus.

Terry experiences what it's like to be a firefighter, as the Ranger Hose Company simulated Terry 45's first call into service.

"I saw the video. My son came home and said, 'Dad, come take a look at this.' It brought tears to my eyes," said Ranger Hose Company Chief Frank Zangari.

Zangari's son Michael, also a volunteer firefighter, is the one who helped set up this moment for Terry last week.

Terry has cerebral palsy. He has looked up to firefighters his whole life.

Although this moment was a simulation of what it's like to be a firefighter, by the look on his face, it made him feel like he really is one.

After all, Terry has an official firefighter pager and now a helmet from the Ranger Hose Company that never leaves his sight.

"This morning it was on his chest, too. He fell asleep that way with a helmet on his chest," said Terry's father Terrance O'Boyle.

"He's definitely one of us," the chief added. "He's part of our family through and through. There is no doubt about that. He's more than an honorary firefighter."

Terry is as committed to this fire company as any of the volunteer firefighters.

This June, he'll lead a parade through Girardville to celebrate the 100th birthday of the company's Model T fire truck.

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Man with cerebral palsy serves as firefighter for a day
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