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Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Boy defies father to attend Mass. firefighter's wake

"I tied my tie myself. I learned it from reading my book, 'How to Be the Best at Everything'"

BOSTON — He was under strict orders not to leave the house after school. But 11-year-old Jared Flanders neatly knotted his tie, climbed on his bike and went to pay his last respects to fallen Worcester firefighter Jon Davies at a funeral home down the street yesterday.

Jared didn't know the hero jake who died after rushing into a blazing triple-decker last week. Yet, the boy's kind-hearted salute lifted the spirits of firefighters attending Davies' wake.

Here is Jared's story as told to the Herald's Richard Weir:

'I went over and supported them. They said 'Thank you,' and I said, I'm sorry for his loss.

'I wanted to say thanks for saving all those people. Thanks for trying so hard. We'll all miss you.

'I felt very bad for him, he was going to get married. The poor guy.

'I kept thinking how good he was and how hard he worked.

'What I was thinking about while watching everybody go up and pray was how brave he was and how such a hard worker he was.

'I tied my tie myself. I learned it from reading my book, 'How to Be the Best at Everything.' I also read how to fly a helicopter and how to make a flute out of bamboo.

'Maybe I'll be a firefighter. I want to be a soccer player and if I don't make that, I want to be a graphic designer or then a firefighter.

The boy's dad, Gene Flanders, 45, said last night his son broke the rules by leaving the house, but he can't punish him now:

'At first I was very startled. I am not quite sure how to deal with the situation. ... I was a little surprised when I called his phone and a police officer answered it, and he happened to say how Jared rode his bike to the funeral home. We were talking about how even though what he had done was very nice, we're trying to go back over the rules that he wasn't supposed to leave the house. But it's very touching that he would go and do that for someone.

'He has such a big heart.'

Fourth generation Worcester firefighter Matt Johnson, 24, said the story of the boy 'spread like wildfire' through the funeral home and touched jakes' hearts:

'It's awesome. It makes it all worth it. It's a little sunshine at the end of it.'

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