The city's emergency services departments posed in back of Big Y Supermarket for pictures on Sunday to post to Tyler's Troops Facebook page.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Local emergency services are participating in a worldwide effort to help a 6-year-old Rhode Island boy diagnosed with leukemia.
People and emergency forces from around the world have been reaching out to Tyler Seddon of Pascoag. Tyler loves firefighters, police, military, and emergency medical technicians and, through a Facebook page, forces from around the world have been sending him gifts and pictures.
"I joined because I am a cop, and I figured my friends will see it and they will join, too," Police Officer Erik Thomas said. "There were about 1,400 people when I first joined and a week later it was up to 14,000."
Thomas said local emergency services posed together to take a group picture for Tyler. They brought out emergency vehicles and took a picture that was posted on "Tyler’s Troops" Facebook page. Pictures sent from around the world are posted on to Tyler's page, which is flooded with comments.
Amalio Jusino of the North Adams Ambulance Service and Officer Anthony Beverly organized the photo shoot for North Adams.
"We took a bunch of pictures, but they are hard to find on the Facebook page because there are so many," Thomas said. "With this many members on the page, every two minutes someone is posting a new photo."
Thomas explained that Tyler receives so much mail that his local post office had to put aside a bin just for him.
"Everyone thinks it is fantastic that this kid is getting this sort of huge response when all he wanted was some cards," Thomas said. "Tyler’s mother (Rachel Seddon-Dunn) posted that at one point they were averaging one new person to this group every two minutes."
Fire Director Steven Meranti said he thought it was amazing that social media could have this kind of power.
"Every day you see different departments and individual police officers, firefighters, EMS, and nurses posting photos and comments," he said "Everyone has posted something for him on Facebook, and I think it is great how everyone is pulling for him."
Tyler’s page has been on the Web for only two weeks and he has accrued 19,000 members who support him.
Tyler needs a bone marrow transplant to fight the disease, and with the amount of support and awareness caused by his Facebook page, Thomas is confident Tyler will find a match.
“You can imagine with all this support tons of people from all over the place are registering to be bone marrow donors,” he said. “I am sure with all this he is going to find one.”
Tyler will turn 7 on Thursday, when he will be sworn in as "Police Chief for a Day" in Burrillville, R.I. Some 185 police cars, 30 firetrucks, police motorcycles and more than 200 EMS personnel are expected to convoy to Burrillville to help him celebrate.
Meranti said the North Adams Fire Department has sent Tyler some department patches for his birthday.
Emergency services from the Northern Berkshire area are all pitching in and sending gifts to Tyler for his birthday; Pittsfield Police posted photos of the presents some its officers will be delivering to Tyler on Thursday, including an oversized card made by Massive Graphics.
"Thanks for inspiring us. Stay strong and keep the Faith. Tyler's Troops!" Pittsfield Police posted.
Personnel from the Berkshire County sheriff's office, Lanesborough, Cheshire, Pittsfield and Lenox police will be leaving at 6:30 a.m. to attend the celebration.
Meranti said the North Adams emergency services are proud to be able to support Tyler together.
"In North Adams, we all work very well together," he said. "We work together all the time and we all support each other, and we wish Tyler the very best."
Cards and donations can be sent to Tyler at 96 South Main St., Pascoag, R.I., 02859.