WILKES-BARRE, Pa. — For one day, Wilkes-Barre had a new fire chief, a new police chief, and a new mayor.
In honor of Light It Up Blue Day, Billy Norton was crowned Wilkes-Barre fire chief for a day, making his dream job into a reality.
Billy was chosen out of all the students at the Graham Academies in Kingston and Luzerne to lead firefighters at the department, which he hopes to do full time in the future.
Billy joined some of his classmates in City Hall to be recognized by the mayor for their efforts to promote awareness, equity, and access for all persons with disabilities during Autism Awareness month.
“As our students get older and any of these things are possible for them to become a firefighter, to become a police officer, we’ve had a student who left our program who’s a welder now, you know, so there’s a lot of strength that our kiddos have,” said Jim Prisk, Graham Academy director of operations.
From being fire chief or police chief to the mayor of Wilkes-Barre, these students with autism showed how everyone is able, no matter their diagnosis.
“People who just don’t understand it, don’t live with it every day, so just to be out in public and private to have the awareness for people,” said Billy’s father Bill Norton.
After Autism Month is over, Billy’s family hopes the rest of the community will continue to make an extra effort to be inclusive.
“You have to speak to them a little bit differently, little bit more understanding all the way around. People need to start using their manners, be more courteous,” said Billy’s mom Kerry Kopetchny.
Billy felt right at home at the fire station and hopes to come back sometime soon.
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