Lake Co. boy, 6, becomes honorary firefighter

It was a special day for a boy from Lake County. He lived out his dream of becoming a firefighter.

His name is Cameron Witsman, 6, of Lake County. He was born with a life-threatening lung condition forcing him to spend months in the hospital. He even lived through a bi-lateral lung transplant. He is on a course of daily pills and monthly hospital visits.

But, this little guy with a beaming smile loves firefighters. So, the day after his birthday, Eustis Fire Chief Rex Wims wanted to do something special for him.

"He's a very special little man," he said. "He loves the fire department. He dreams about the fire department. All he thinks about is the fire department. We wanted him to become an honorary firefighter."

Cameron first had to take a written test -- of course with the flare of a 6-year-old.

"Where's engine 23 supposed to be?" A firefighter asked Cameron as part of his written test firefighters would go through.

"Out that way," Cameron said as he looked down the street. The crowd of 50 people erupted in laughter.

After that, it was time to suit up. A firefighter helped Cameron put on his child-sized firefighting gear, complete with a small air tank and boots. Cameron stepped out from the fire house to get ready for the physical part of the test.

"Go, go, go!" Shouted a firefighter, who helped Cameron pull the heavy fire hose.

They lined up in the street and Cameron took the lead. He pulled the lever and water shot out from the hose. Guided by a firefighter, Cameron knocked down a few cones in the street as part of the test.

He also dragged a mannequin a short distance down the street.

The mayor of Eustis declared Cameron the city's first honorary firefighter.

Cameron's mother, Caroline said, "It's been a long time coming for him. Being here and him being able to do all this... The fire department holding this special event for him really touches my heart. It means a lot. I'm very proud of Cameron."

Cameron said he wasn't nervous, but the hardest part was "spraying the cones down."

Wearing the brand new firefighter's uniform shirt and badge bestowed upon him, Cameron said, "I'm proud of being a firefighter."

Cameron already has his first assignment. He will be riding in Tower 22 for Saturday's parade in Eustis.
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