Boy raises money for firefighters; gets VIP treatment at Salem Lakes Fire Station #1

Like a lot of kids, Wesley Rivera, 3, wanted to have a lemonade stand at his Salem Lakes home.

Perhaps less common, was what Wesley did with the proceeds. He decided to donate it to the firefighter/paramedics of Salem Lakes Fire/Rescue.

On Monday, Wesley, accompanied by his father Zak Rivera, delivered the funds to the firefighters at Fire Station No. 1 in Trevor.

Wesley rarely spoke above a whisper during the visit, as looked to be taking in everything in the station with every glance, but Zak said he has an interest in firefighters and wants to be a fire truck driver someday

Wesley’s interest was emphasized by the 3-year-old sized turnout gear he wore to the fire station. Upon seeing Wesley’s gear, one of the firefighters good naturedly remarked “kinda of hot for turnout gear” on a day where the temperature topped 90.

Interim Chief James Lejcar accepted the donation and topped off Wesley’s gear with a junior firefighter helmet. Lejcar said Wesley collected about $85.

Lejcar and other firefighters showed Wesley and Zak around the station. Wesley was able to go into an ambulance and got a close-up look at a fire boat.

Wesley and Zak also got to go for a spin in one of the department’s engines. A firefighter explained to Wesley the difference between a fire engine (holds and pumps water) and a fire truck (carries ladders). Afterwards, he got to sit behind the wheel of the engine.

Zak said Wesley has had some exposure to emergency workers. One of Zak’s grandfathers was a police officer and the other a volunteer firefighter. A neighbor is a Waukegan firefighter.

“This is our future,” Lejcar said of Wesley as the visit ended.

Following are some more photos:


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