Boy, 8, granted wish to be Yosemite ranger

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Photo: NPS/ Facebook

Photo: NPS/ Facebook

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YOSEMITE NATIONAL PARK, Calif. (AP) – An 8-year-old Florida boy with a life-threatening illness has achieved his wish of becoming an honorary ranger at Yosemite National Park.

Park ranger and spokesman Scott Gediman said Gabriel Lawan-Ying of Gainesville, Florida, put in a full day of work at the park Tuesday, putting out a wildland fire and saving an injured hiker in a simulated search-and-rescue operation and helping the Yosemite medical team carry the patient to a waiting helicopter.

Gabriel’s wish, arranged with the help of the Make-A-Wish Foundation, was witnessed by about 300 spectators, including more than 50 park rangers in dress uniforms.

“Yosemite National Park was honored to host this wish today with Gabriel and his family,” Gediman said. “We put a tremendous amount of time and effort into making his experience meaningful.”

In a ceremony presided over by U.S. Magistrate Judge Michael Seng and Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher, Gabriel received an honorary park ranger badge and credentials along with a plaque and a flag that was flown over Yosemite Valley.

Yosemite, which encompasses nearly 1,200 square miles of wilderness and is visited by millions of people each year, is one the nation’s most venerated national parks.

Yosemite Valley was set aside for protection by President Lincoln in 1864.

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