FILE PHOTO: A son of a firefighter who died wanted to remember his dad by collecting patches from all over the country.
Photo: Ioan Nicolae/Shutterstock
Photo: Ioan Nicolae/Shutterstock

Patching the memory: Child who lost firefighter father gets Christmas surprises from strangers

Evan Potter, 10, lost his dad in 2016. In November, he sat down with KYW in Philadelphia and said he was hoping he could have someone send him a couple of fire company patches to help honor his dad, Michael Potter

His father would trade patches, and even T-shirts, when he came across a fire department while traveling, members of the family told KYW in November. That’s how Evan came up with the idea of collecting patches.

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But his dad’s company was already working to Evan’s goal without him knowing it.

“It was a big secret. We didn’t want to ruin it for him, so I had to keep him off the internet and wasn’t allowed to watch TV,” Amanda Potter told the television station.

The goal was hit out of the ballpark, with bins and bins being sent to Engine 33. 

In November, they had about 100 patches, but after a story aired in November, the amount of patches filled a hallway at the firehouse, KYW reported.

All of the boxes were packed up into a firetruck sleigh to be delivered by Santa to Evan on Christmas Eve. 

Thousands of patches from hundreds of cities in the United States, and nearly every continent were stacked in boxes around the tree, sent from strangers for Evan. He was named an honorary firefighter in many states, KYW reported.

Evan said he wants to follow in his dad’s footsteps and become a firefighter when he’s older, KYW reported.

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