This retired Boston firefighter cemented his position as a hero in the lives of Umar Fox and his sister after he rescued them from fire when they were kids.
Many unsung heroes might have stepped in to save us from accidents or other critical situations at some point in our lives. The sad part is that we mostly never get to reunite with these samaritans who had played a crucial part in giving us a new life. However, the story of 3-year-old Umar Fox is quite different. He grew up to become a family man and live a fulfilling life, thanks to a Boston firefighter who rescued him and his sister from a fire in 1978.
According to The Boston Globe, Fox reunited with the retired Boston firefighter Joseph Gilmore, who was behind the rescue mission 45 years later. For four decades, Fox has always wanted to meet the man who gave him a new life and he was finally able to locate Gilmore with the help of social media. The reunion they had at a local community hall was emotional.
"Little Umar isn't so little anymore," Gilmore joked when he finally met a grown-up Fox, per the outlet. Gilmore was a firefighter in Boston for 38 years and in footage captured by Boston ABC affiliate WCVB, we can see the pair embracing each other tightly. The sweet reunion was also attended by Fox's mom, Silvia and George Rizer who had photographed the rescue for The Boston Globe. "This guy saved our lives," Fox told the WCVB. "We wouldn't be here. I have wonderful children," he continued, revealing that now he is a father of three and a stepfather of two.
Unfortunately, his sister Lisa couldn't attend the reunion due to an illness, but Fox talked about her as well and how she is a mother to grown-up kids now who are doing wonderful things in life. "What you did, in turn, saved other people's lives and brought more into the world," Fox, who works as a school bus driver now, told Gilmore. The Boston Globe also reported that Fox went on to rescue a drowning kid when he was a teenager and also convinced two people to step back from taking their own lives while he was employed as a recovery coach.
"You didn't just do your job. You did it well," Silvia also thanked Gilmore for saving her son and daughter from the fire. Gilmore does indeed have memories of December 26, 1978, when a fire broke out at the Fox family home in Dorchester, Massachusetts, but it didn't seem noteworthy to him back then. It was just another day for Gilmore at his job when he went to rescue Silvia's kids, who were at home for the holidays. Being a single mother, Silvia was at work when the accident happened. Rizer, who was present at the scene 45 years ago, photographed Gilmore carrying the siblings down the front steps of the home to an ambulance.
Rizer said that Gilmore went back inside to bring the fire under control. The photographer even brought copies of the original photograph for Gilmore and Fox's families. Rizer is grateful that amongst countless photos he captured as a photographer, Fox and Gilmore's story turned into something beautiful and led to an emotional reunion. "The worst thing you can hear on the police scanner or fire scanner on the way to any event is, 'children trapped,'" Rizer told the outlet after the reunion. "You don't want to hear that, but if you get there, you want to [see] them, God willing, be rescued like this. We go to bad stuff looking for happy endings, hopefully."