Teen battling leukemia becomes honorary Pembroke Pines firefighter

PEMBROKE PINES, FLA. (WSVN) - A South Florida teen in the fight of his life has always dreamed of becoming a firefighter, and on Thursday, his wish was granted.

With his assignment and uniform in place, 16-year-old David Frey was ready to carry out his duties as the very first honorary member of the Pembroke Pines Fire Department. “OK, so you’re gonna be assigned to Rescue 269 today,” a firefighter told the teen.

“I didn’t expect this. It was a surprise,” said Frey.

The teen is used to putting out personal fires in his own life. He was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia, but that never stopped his wish of one day being able to help others as a firefighter. “They’re great people, and they save people’s lives,” he said.

Frey’s aunt said this was not a recent aspiration. “Oh, he’s talked about it for years because his grandfather and aunt are firefighters,” said Diane Costino, “and he’s talked [about it] on and off for a year, but this is just unbelievable.”

While on the job, the teen was able to experience the challenges of being a firefighter firsthand. “Pembroke Pines, our firefighters, when we do what we do, we do it right,” said Pembroke Pines Mayor Frank C. Ortis. “This young man has just heard for himself he’s got the fortitude to be one of our great firefighters in the future, and we look forward to it.”

Included in Frey’s itinerary was an opportunity to tour the equipment and even put out a fire. “It was beyond words that we could help him, and help him accomplish his goals,” said Pembroke Pines Fire Chief John Picarello.

Frey said, if there’s one thing he’s learned as a firefighter and in his own challenges in life, it’s perseverance. “Stay strong and keep fighting and never give up,” he said.

Copyright 2017 Sunbeam Television Corp. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.