Premium Content

Union Teen Battling Cancer Sworn In as Florence Police Officer

The Florence Police Department swore in a new honorary officer last week.

Gavin Ward, 14, of Union, is battling Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), a type of brain cancer affecting children.

The boy's parents, Ryan and Ginger Ward opted not to put Gavin through radiation due to some of the complications associated with it.

The teen is a fan of TV police dramas, and he also enjoys spending time with his siblings, Jack, Hannah, Kaylee, and Cameron, and their three dogs.

A family friend, Josh Dalton, who serves on a K9 team at Florence Police, asked Chief Tom Grau if the department could do something special for the boy.

On November 15, Gavin was sworn in by Mayor Diane Whalen during a ceremony at the Florence Government Center. He spent the day riding in a police cruiser with Dalton and K9 Det.

"Gavin hasn't let his illness slow him down," Chief Grau said. "And that is a quality we like in an officer. Not only has it not slowed him down, but he is out there getting a message to others, putting others ahead of him. We value that in an officer too. In getting his message out, I am reminded of the phrase, Out of the mouths of babes comes wisdom and truth."

Grau offered Gavin badge number two, placing him above the department's captains.

"Proud is a faint understatement of what I am," Ryan Ward said online. "I could not be more proud of Gavin! He has exceeded my expectations I had in mind for him as a man! He will always be my hero!  He makes me a better man! We all love you, Gavin Ward, and you will live on as a warrior in all of us!"

Story and photos by Patricia A. Scheyer, RCN contributor

Slideshow Images & Captions: