Gabriel Lawan-Ying, 8, was named Honorary National Park Ranger for a day Yosemite National Park.
Ying, of Gainesville, Florida, sought to be sought to fulfill his dream of becoming a Yosemite National Park Ranger through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. After coordinating with the Make-A-Wish foundation, Yosemite National Park staff put Ying to work throughout the day performing a variety of duties of a Park Ranger.
Ying worked with the Yosemite Fire Crew to put out a wildland fire, went on a naturalist walk through Cook's Meadow with a Park Ranger, worked on a search and rescue operation involving an injured hiker and assisted the Yosemite medical team in transporting the patient to a waiting helicopter.
After Ying's full day of work, he was made an Honorary Park Ranger.
Approximately 300 people, including Yosemite community members and several dozen of Yosemite's Park Rangers, attended a ceremony in which Ying received his Honorary Park Ranger badge and credentials.
United States Magistrate Judge Michael Seng and Yosemite National Park Superintendent Don Neubacher presided over the ceremony in which Ying also received a wooden park ranger plaque and a flag that was flown over Yosemite Valley yesterday.
In addition to the training, Delaware North Companies Parks & Resorts at Yosemite provided some down time in the form of a pizza party at Degnan's Loft in Yosemite Village. Ranger Ying relaxed at lunch with his family, the NPS rangers involved in his training and the Make-A-Wish crew.
After the ceremony, The Ahwahnee kitchen staff celebrated Ranger Gabriel's new status with a congratulatory cake created by Executive Pastry Chef Paul Padua. On the shaded back patio at The Ahwahnee, Ranger Ying wrapped up his first day as a Yosemite park ranger, sharing cake and lemonade with his family and dozens of his new friends.
Returning the next day to Yosemite Valley, Ranger Gabriel escorted his family on a rafting trip down the Merced River, ever vigilant for those that may need the assistance or knowledge of a national park ranger.
The Make-A-Wish Foundation is a non-profit organization established in the 1980's that arranges opportunities for children between the ages of 2 and 18 who are dealing with life-threatening conditions and would otherwise be unable to participate in such events.
Make-A-Wish grants wishes through its 62 chapters in the U.S. and operates throughout 47 countries around the world.