Terminally ill toddler gets the chance to be honorary firefighter, days before his death
A Massachusetts fire department fulfilled a young boy's wish by signing him up as their newest recruit, just days before he died of cancer.
Both the fire and police departments in Pittsfield honored 3-year-old Tony Maschino Tuesday in a touching ceremony after learning the boy was battling brain cancer. They heard about Tony when community members told them about Tony's wish to become a firefighter.
"The mother was extremely appreciative to what we have done for him," said Nathan Backer, a firefighter at the station. "Although he was unresponsive during the ceremony, my team were more than happy and honored that we did all of this for him,"
The firefighters paraded Maschino around the neighborhood with four engine trucks and two deputy chiefs' vehicles with lights and sirens flashing.
And that night, a lighting ceremony with cartoon ornaments was held in his front yard.
The Pittsfield station also presented him with a plaque designating him as an honorary firefighter, his very own turnout gear, wrapped up presents and gave him a "Marshall the Fire Dog" Paw Patrol toy.
The turnout gear also included Maschino's name across the jacket.
His mom, Stephanie Maschino, told iberkshire.com that the little boy's body was falling apart and he was struggling to walk after his diagnosis.
"It was pretty emotional to see this and we wanted to let him know that [with] being a firefighter comes brotherhood," Backer told InsideEdition.com. "No one is left behind."
On Friday, Maschino sadly passed away, the fire department said.
Although he lost his battle with cancer, he will always be in his comrades' hearts.
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