Valley Breeze

The North Providence Breeze 05-16-2018

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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14 IN OUR SCHOOLS MAY 16-22, 2018 | VALLEY BREEZE | NORTH PROVIDENCE EDITION to work. He messaged Mike Baptisa, a Coventry firefighter who played foot- ball with Mozzetta in high school, to see whether he could help. In less than two hours, Baptista secured one of two fire trucks to surprise Pedro and Smith. Baptista, who had never met the stu- dents, said, "Hearing about a chance to make a kid's night, I said I'm 100 percent in. We never meet anyone we help on the job but we're there any- way. I just had the chance to do some- thing for a kid who loves what we do and we wanted to do whatever we could to give him a wonderful day." He secured the first fire truck from the Rhode Island sheriff and retired North Providence firefighter Brian Nicastro, who had purchased the "Westbrook 7" at auction in Westbrook, Conn. Nicastro had served on the fire department with Baptista's father, and said he was happy to help. "I want to put a smile on (Pedro's) face and give him something to remember," said Nicastro, who took the day out of work to hand-wash the truck and bring Pedro to his prom. "I was just reminiscing about being in awe of the fire trucks as kids … getting a ride in the truck would have been gold. It was a dream for us as kids, and we're making it happen now." Soon after Nicastro volunteered his Westbrook 7 for the night, Baptista vis- ited with the fire chief to see whether the department could help. Mayor Charles Lombardi, a former volunteer firefighter, overheard the conversation and said: "This is what it's all about." "It is all about the kids, so when I picked up on that conversation I said we would do everything we can to make sure this happens. I think this is a great show of caring," he told The Breeze. "In my office there is a T-shirt hanging that says North Providence: A Community That Cares. This is what we do here." Within two days of the original Facebook post seeking flower dona- tions, Pedro and Smith received an outpouring of support from the com- munity. "It spiraled and spin-balled into my inbox blowing up with people who wanted to be a part of it," said Mozzetta. "It started with whether we could get a fire truck to stop by to make him happy, but once we secured the truck, friends and family and com- plete strangers started to reach out to see what else they could do." Within two days, Our Place Tuxedos in North Providence had donated Pedro's tuxedo, Amy Rochefort paid for Smith's dress, and Tiffany Peno vol- unteered to do Smith's hair and make- up. People donated money to pay for accessories, flowers, photo packages and even their tickets. "Everyone just came together," Hedden said. "There are truly amazing people in this world." Hedden was just happy her son wanted to go to prom, noting how hard it can be for people with autism to feel comfortable or seek out that sort of experience. "The fact that he is even going is such an accomplish- ment," she said. Though a bit apprehensive about his impending surprise, Pedro's anxieties melted away when two fire engines and a specialty vehicle turned the corner to his street, stopping at his house. He and Smith later pulled up to Kirkbrae with sirens and smiles on. "I'm humbled and overwhelmed by the experience," said Mozzetta, who does not take credit for starting the effort to surprise the pair of students. "I never imaged this would turn into what it has become. To see how peo- ple come together; there are so many good people in the world." PROM From Page One BREEZE PHOTO BY NICOLE DOTZENROD North Providence firefighters, from left, Battalion Chief DAN USENIA, Lt. JAY PETRILLO and Chief EDWARD DIGIULIO JR.; NPHS senior TYLER PEDRO and junior KAYLEE SMITH; firefighter MICHAEL BAPTISTA of Hopkins Hill Fire, Mayor CHARLES LOMBARDI; firefighters WINSTON COBB and NICHOLAS DAVIS and Assistant Chief JOHN SILVA III, stand with the fire truck that took the high schoolers to the prom at Kirkbrae Country Club in Lincoln. 6 Blackstone Valley Place, Suite #204 Lincoln, Rhode Island 02865 Telephone - 401-334-9555 Fax - 401-334-9994 Web: Check Out Each Week's Growing List of Local Yard Sales In Our Classifieds Section. Planning A Yard Sale? Listings are just $25 and includes an online listing on our website. DEADLINE: TUESDAYS AT NOON Place your ad Online at or call or stop by our office. Let's Go (YARD) Sale-ing! YARD SALE as seen in Day(s): Date(s): Tim e: Address: Please dispose of this sign as soon as your Yard Sale ends. Thank you! 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