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Cleveland resident joins fireman family for an unforgettable birthday

From Local 3 News: On February 14th, Cleveland, TN resident Justin Mitchell received an unforgettable birthday surprise.


Since Justin was a young boy, his dream has always been to become a fireman.


Despite being diagnosed with spastic diplegia cerebral palsy, Justin overcomes challenges and lives life in the most positive ways as an active member of society.


He has been an employee of a company for 10 years and has still not given up his love for the world of firefighting. Lucky for him, we have a town full of local heroes with a heart of gold.


Red Bank Fire Chief, Brent Sylar asked to be introduced to Justin after learning the story of his firefighting dreams from his mother. Since then, the two have become buddies and Justin has been welcomed in as a part of the firefighter family.


With Justin’s 32nd birthday approaching, as any good friend would do, Fire Chief Brent Sylar wanted to make sure it was a special day.

Fire Chief Brent Sylar called friends, Captain Jason Parks with the Cleveland TN Fire Department and Commander Brett Dunn with the Bradley County Fire and Rescue for some help from their departments to surprise Justin.


Together, they produced a plan and put together a drive-by birthday celebration!


As if his contagious smile doesn’t say it all, Justin was surprised by his friend’s arrival. He waved with excitement as his firefighter friends wished him a Happy Birthday while parading past his house with their lights, sirens, and horns.


Each of the firefighters thoughtfully gifted t-shirts, hats, stickers, and a tag as a token of family and friendship from each department.


Justin’s mom expressed her gratitude in a message that read, “Thank you for everything you did for Justin. Brent has given him a little piece of the “fire dept” world that he wants to be a part of so badly. The smile on Justin’s face is a memory that will last a lifetime.”


When asking Fire Chief Sylar what the opportunity has meant to him, he responded,” It feels good to make an impact on a young man’s life who otherwise could not do what he wanted because of his limitations. I’m glad to be a part of that and to see him smile every time I am around him.”


Justin is now “on call” and delighted to be a part of the firefighter family.