REDLANDS ( — Redlands firefighters granted a dying Yucaipa man’s wish to become one of them.

Kevin Kunf Jr., 26, graduated from a fire academy and was on the verge of living out his lifelong dream when he was diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer.

Kunf’s sister, Kristina Hendrickson, said her brother had too many tumors to count.

The family was inconsolable.

“One minute you’re absolutely devastated that you’re losing your best friend. And then other times you’re okay because you know he’s going to someplace better,” Hendrickson cried.

Kevin Sr., Kunf’s father, said, “I’m not bitter about it. I’m just devastated, heartbroken. I don’t know what I’m going to do without him.”

The Redlands Fire Department recently made Kunf’s day a bit brighter at Redlands Community Hospital by making him their colleague.

Kunf received an honorary badge and a helmet.

“I have no doubt that with the drive that this man had…someone would have been issuing him a badge soon,” said Chief Jeff Frazier.

Kunf’s father said his son was overjoyed.

“He’s conveyed to me just how thankful he was,” he said.

Hendrickson said, “This is what he wanted to be since he was little.”

Kunf has a few more days to live.


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