(WPRI) – Boston firefighter Michael Kennedy’s heroic efforts during Wednesday night’s massive nine-alarm fire in Boston’s Back Bay neighborhood are being celebrated across the country this week. Because of tragedy, the fallen firefighter will be remembered by millions as a national hero, but – to 14-year-old Alex Beauzile – Michael Kennedy will always be a brother.
“He told me he loved me,” Beauzile said, “and I told him I loved him, too.”
Beauzile and Kennedy, 33, met seven years ago through Boston’s Big Brothers Big Sisters program – one of several organizations to which Kennedy donated his free time.
According to some of his friends and coworkers, Kennedy also spent time visiting children in hospital burn units and helping to organize community involvement events.
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“Mike knew the language of being a kid,” Phillip Skrabut with the Boston Firefighters Burn Foundation said. “If he couldn’t speak with the kid, he would walk in and pick up a toy and start playing.”
Between his service as a Marine and Iraq and his work as a Boston firefighter, Beauzile said he was constantly inspired by the way his Big Brother led his life. The teenager said he wants to follow in Kennedy’s footsteps by eventually serving his community.
“I told him since he’s a fireman, I wanted to be a police officer so one day we could work side by side,” Beauzile said.
Kennedy, along with Lt. Edward Walsh, 43, passed away after becoming trapped in the basement of a Beacon Street home on Wednesday. At least 13 other firefighters were injured in the blaze.
Boston Mayor Martin Walsh announced Thursday that a memorial fund had been created to help the families of Kennedy and Walsh.
To donate, mail a check to:
Lieutenant Walsh – Firefighter Kennedy Memorial Fund
Boston Firefighters Credit Union
60 Hallet Street
Dorchester, MA 02124