WILKES-BARRE — In celebration of “Light It Up Blue Day” and World Autism Awareness Month in April, Graham Academy student Billy Norton had the opportunity to serve as the city’s honorary fire chief for the day.
Norton, 18, climbed into a fire truck outside Wilkes-Barre fire headquarters and learned how to operate the aerial ladder. He said his favorite part of the experience was honking the horn. While touring fire headquarters, he said, “This is great!”
“This is a good life experience for him to see something like this and do something different,” Wilkes-Barre Fire Chief Jay Delaney said. “He has a lot of confidence.”
Norton was one of four special needs students that Wilkes-Barre Mayor George Brown honored on Friday from The Graham Academy. The special education school serves students with autism at its upper school in Luzerne and lower school in Kingston.
Graham Academy student Russell Herron, 20, who recently won an autism awareness puzzle piece contest, served as the honorary mayor for the day.
While presenting Herron with a proclamation, Brown said Herron is a role model student at The Graham Academy and a “great team player.”
Herron later joined the mayor in his office to help him make some decisions.
His dad, Wyoming Borough Councilman Russell Herron, was proud to watch.
“He’s following in his dad’s footsteps,” Herron said of his son. “He’s a great leader. He always puts his best foot forward.”
The mayor also presented proclamations to Graham Academy students Payton Power, who sang the national anthem, and Da’Saun Johnson.
After receiving his proclamation, 13-year-old Johnson joined Wilkes-Barre Police Chief Joseph Coffay and served as the city’s honorary police chief for the day.
Their first order of business was to meet with the mayor about police detail at the Cherry Blossom Festival this weekend. They also toured the police station.