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Milwaukee Fire Academy graduate receives special gift

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MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- It was a special Milwaukee Fire Academy graduation ceremony Thursday for a man carrying on his grandfather’s legacy.

Upon walking across the stage, Sean Gelles’s mother, Linda, gifted him a pair of cuff links that belonged to her father, his grandfather.

He had been awarded the cuff links in 1930.

“My mother saved them all these years,” Linda said.

Sean’s grandfather was an usher at The Strand movie theater in 1930 when a fire broke out next door.

“The entire theater filled with smoke,” Linda said. “My father got his men in place and within two and a half minutes they got 1,000 people out of the theater with no injuries.”

The Fire Commissioner gave Sean’s grandfather the cuff links and a medal for his heroic actions.

“It brings a lot of positive emotion for me,” Sean said. “I’m very grateful to have the history.”

Linda says of all the kids and grandkids in their family, Sean reminds her the most of her father.

“It’s just like his spirit came right through him,” she said.

Sean says he’s proud to represent the future of the Milwaukee Fire Department.


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