Giselle Villa, 5, a patient at the Children's Hospital at... (Rudy Gutierrez / El Paso Times)
Children Become Honorary Firefighters
Posted: 5:28 pm MDT October 3, 2010Updated: 7:47 pm MDT October 3, 2010
EL PASO, Texas -- Every day at the Children's Hospital At Providence, young ones are fighting through the unimaginable, and to help bring a smile to their faces, a yearly celebration takes place in honor of a child who used to be just like them. Armando Licon's little brother, Jose Eduardo Licon, passed away from cancer 12 years ago. "He had a very close relationship with the firefighters, and they were always really kind to him and he always really enjoyed it," said Armando Licon. Before he died, the El Paso Fire Department made Jose Licon an honorary firefighter, a tradition that has been passed down to the children at the hospital every year for the last 11 years. "Really it's a story of a family's personal loss, how they turned that into hope for so many more children," said El Paso Fire Department Chief Otto Drozd. On Sunday, the El Paso Fire Department added the group of children at the children's hospital to their force. "When they see the fire department, when they see the fire chief giving them their hat, their diploma, their faces just light up, and that's what it's all about," said Licon. The hope is that the children can take their minds off of battling diseases and think about battling blazes. "Hopefully we give them a little bit of inspiration to help them get through," said Drozd. "They're going through a tough time, but they display a lot of the same characteristics firefighters do, and as much as I think they admire firefighters, firefighters admire them," said Licon.