JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — In this week's "Stories of Service," we want to honor a hometown hero who was 5 years old when he decided he wanted to be a firefighter.
For the last 25 years, Senior Master Sergeant Aaron Bebernitz has been living his dream with the Jacksonville Fire Department and the United States Air Force.
Last November, the Jaguars helped organize a surprise homecoming for Bebernitz after he spent the last seven months deployed in East Africa. They worked alongside the Jacksonville Fire Rescue Department, where Bebernitz is a Captain, and the 908th Airlift Wing, where Bebernitz serves as a firefighter in the Air Force Reserve, to plan the surprise.
His family was honored as the Jaguars Hometown Hero Family. After the presentation, they pivoted to watch a recorded message from Aaron.
Moments later, they watched that message come to life as Bebernitz came running into their arms.
"It's going to last a lifetime these memories and again I can't thank the Jaguars enough and everyone who's helped me to get to this moment," Bebernitz said.
When he was overseas, he was deployed with the 475th Expeditionary Air Base Squadron as a part of the 435th Air Expeditionary Wing. Serving in Manda Bay, Kenya, he helped to train the Kenyan Naval Fire crew, sharing techniques such as rescuing aircrew from U.S. and Kenyan aircraft.
We want to thank Senior Airman Austin Jackson for sharing the video in this article with First Coast News to help us tell his story.