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Backpacker Magazine – Online Exclusive

8-Year-Old Boy is Yosemite Ranger for a Day

He helped out with firefighting and a mock hiker rescue.

by: Abbey Dufoe

image: NPS
image: NPS

When the Make-A-Wish foundation offered 8-year-old Gabriel LaVan Ying a trip, he chose an unusual destination: Yosemite National Park.

Ying, of Gainesville, Florida, got to be a park ranger for a day earlier this week, reports NBC, assisting park staff with wildland firefighting and a mock rescue of an injured hiker.

Ying has Elhers-Danlos Syndrome, which damages connective tissues in the body and causes overly flexible joints.

Ying's gallant efforts earned him an Honorary Park Ranger badge, a wooden park ranger plaque, and a flag that once flew over Yosemite Valley.

Marissa Gajos, the Make-a-Wish coordinator for Ying's chapter in Florida, said she had never received a similar request from any other wish recipient.

Read more: NBC


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