A memorial was held Sunday for 5-year-old River Laurence, a Converse boy who had battled a rare form of cancer until his death two weeks ago.
The funeral was a celebration of his life, fit for a boy his age.
River was diagnosed with neuroblastoma in 2014. The boy never got to be the firefighter he always dreamed of being, but he got close.
The Converse Fire Department declared him an honorary firefighter. He got the same honor from the fire department in New York.
New York City fireman Peter Calderaro came all the way from the Big Apple for the funeral. He grew close to the young boy during his treatments in New York.
"Once you meet River, you just fall in love with him. He was just that kind of kid," Calderaro said.
Hundreds of service members and people in the community filled the room, offering their condolences to the family. River's mother, Joscelyn Laurence, said the support is helping her heal.
"To have grown men who will walk into a burning building come to this little 5-year-old's funeral, who wanted to do the same thing... it's been beautiful," she said.
SAFD Chief Charles Hood recited a poem for River and said the boy's strength helped him get through the recent loss of Firefighter Scott Deem and other recent tragedies.
River died as a fighter, and to all who knew him, he's now a source of strength and will always be a little hero.