Luke Ayoub had a simple idea to honor one of his family's closest friends when he approached Scenic Hills Elementary School Principal Dr. Madeleine O'Dowd. What he did not expect was how the whole Springfield School District would latch on to his idea and form a united front.
Ayoub, a third grader at Scenic Hills, was mourning the loss of family friend Lt. Matthew LeTourneau, an 11-year veteran of the Philadelphia Fire Department who tragically lost his life while battling a row home fire in the city on January 6th. He approached Dr. O'Dowd with a simple proposal—could all students and faculty wear red in honor of Lt. LeTourneau on January 18th.
Lt. LeTourneau was a familiar face in Springfield. The 42-year-old was not only a resident of the Springfield community, but he also participated in the school's fire safety demonstration. Every fall Scenic hosts a fire safety day where students can look around a real life fire truck as well as have a hands-on experience. Students learn about the equipment and try on firefighter gear. Dr. O'Dowd fondly remembers Lt. LeTourneau rising above the elementary students in the fire truck bucket.
Ayoub's simple request became a district-wide show of unity when all schools opted to wear red on Thursday the 18th. The gesture has left a positive memory for Ayoub and the Springfield community as we mourn the loss of one our own.