2 teen cousins spend day as Miami-Dade firefighters in tribute to gun violence victim

(WSVN) - A South Florida teen who experienced so much loss got a special visit from firefighters.

It’s a tribute after a tragedy where the teen lost a sibling to gun violence.

Now, firefighters are stepping up to help the teen’s dream come true.

These teen cousins took a giant step forward toward potential careers as firefighters.

Sherrod Saunders and Abigail Bailey are getting the chance to live a dream: spending the day as honorary members of Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.

The teens were chosen for the Day in the Life Experience sponsored by Miami Children’s Initiative after Sherrod’s 6-year-old sister Chassidy was killed in a drive-by shooting last January.

Keeping her close to his heart, he showed up at the training facility wearing a T-shirt bearing Chassidy’s image.

“I’m doing good with it, but you just gotta move on with it,” Sherrod said.

Following the tragedy, Sherrod expressed interest in becoming a firefighter.

“I like to help people because you gotta put yourself in a position of what if that was you and you would want to be helped,” he said.

Now he and his cousin are getting a taste of what it is like to be on the front line.

“There’s going to be a simulated fire in an apartment building, so you guys can see what actually happens and how to attack it,” Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Captain Keith Bell told Sherrod and Abigail.

After surveying the training tower, it was time to suit up.

The protective gear is almost as heavy as he is.

So how did he do handling all the demands of being a first responder?

“The hardest part was going up the stairs and leaning forward,” Sherrod said.

And did the experience change his mind or encourage him to stay the course toward becoming a future rescuer?

When asked by the Captain, he nodded. “My man,” Bell told him, as they bumped fists.

“When he turns 18, Miami-Dade Fire will be waiting on him,” Bell said.

Captain Bell said experiences like this help young people to reach their goals by demonstrating if they can “see it,” they can “be it.”

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