Firefighter Walks With Blind Student at His Graduation - NBC Southern California
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Firefighter Walks With Blind Student at His Graduation

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Firefighter Helps Partially Blind Student at Graduation

    A mom of six posts on social media, asking for someone to walk with her blind son with autism in his graduation ceremony and a firefighter steps up for the assignment. Kathy Vara reports for the NBC4 News on Friday, June 14, 2019. (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    When her son's aide was ordered to bed rest, an Orange County mother had two days to scramble and find someone to help her autistic and blind son walk across the stage for his high school graduation.

    After exhausting her personal resources, Holly Haight went to the "OC Moms" group on Facebook, asking for a firefighter to volunteer his assistance. She said the response was massive, with more than 200 women volunteering their husbands. 

    It was Fountain Valley Fire Department engineer Damon Breeler who answered the call and walked 18-year-old Mavrick Haight across the stage during his graduation.

    "Mavrick loves firefighters," Breeler said. He was "absolutely just head over heels. This is a big day in a young man's life."

    It was a dream for the mother to see her son walk during his high school graduation.

    "Every time I talk about him getting to graduate, I get emotional because not all special needs kids get to walk," Molly Haight says. "And I got to see him walk. I got to see him strive for it, and he worked so hard, he did amazing, and to see that smile."

    Molly Haight said Breeler dedicated four hours of his day to walk her son across the stage, fulfilling Mavrick Haight's wish that his family be in the audience during his special day.

    "He didn't want any family member," Molly Haight said. "He told us he wanted family to be family and watch him walk. So, that's what we did. We watched him walk."

    Mavrick Haight was elated.

    "My mom was cheering and the fireman did excellent. I wasn't really expecting him to be really good at helping a blind person, and he did that," Mavrick Haight said. "He is an awesome person. He worked with me really well, and I think he can help other blind people."

    What was thought to be a one-time instance, is now developing into a lifelong friendship.

    "He greeted him like they knew each other forever. He wants to challenge Damon to a 'Guitar Hero' battle. He wants to show him how to play," Molly Haight said. "He actually wants to keep a relationship with him."

    Molly Haight said she and her son are grateful that Breeler volunteered to walk him on his day off.

    "[Mavrick said to me], 'Mom, he did it and you didn't have to pay him to hang out with me.' And that broke my heart because it wasn't a teacher, it wasn't someone that has to take care of him; he did it out of the kindness of his heart," the mother said.

    Breeler deflected the praise given to him. 

    "Anybody here would have done the same thing without batting an eye," he said. "I was just lucky enough to have the opportunity." 

    Mavrick Haight isn't stopping at high school graduation. He plans to graduate college when he is 22. And when he does, he and his mother want Breeler to be there.

    "I am going to invite him," Molly Haight said. "If he wants to walk him, yes, but if he is family."

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