It’s not every day that a new employee gets standing ovations and radio welcomes, but not every firefighter is like Chase Swisher.
The 8-year-old from Tumwater is a patient at Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital who is being treated for a brain tumor. He told volunteers there that one of his biggest wishes was to be a firefighter.
Today, that wish came true as Chase was officially sworn in as an honorary firefighter with University Place Fire. Fire Chief Mitch Sagers gave Chase his official oath, which the wide-eyed boy recited quietly.
“I, Chase William Swisher,” he whispered.
You could imagine how intimidating it was for the youngster, standing eye-level with a fire chief (Sagers was on one knee) with 20 other firefighters watching.
Sagers tried his best to reassure Chase: “All these people out here are all your friends,” the chief said.
Chase was given an official firefighter helmet, and was officially welcomed into the department’s firefighters union. There is no word on what his monthly dues are.
Finally, all the firefighters in the room received a call over their radios, prompting some of them to make a beeline toward the exit. A few seconds later, however, they learned it was a message, sent to the entire county, welcoming Chase to the department.
“Firefighter,” the voice on the radio said, “we welcome you to the University Place Fire Department and wish you the best.”
I’ll have more on Chase’s first day with the department later.