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Firefighters make special presentation to child with autism

Posted at 10:05 PM, Aug 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-08-27 22:05:55-04

TAMPA, Fla. -- Christopher recently took up the hobby of collecting challenge coins.

They are commemorative coins often given out by first responders and the military.

His mom says they help her 12-year-old son, who has autism, focus.

On Tuesday, he added to his collection thanks to a group of Tampa Bay area firefighters.

They had special challenge coins made to commemorate the 110th anniversary of the Fireman’s Benevolent Association of Tampa. Christopher’s mom is retired from the Hillsborough County Fire Department and when she heard about the coins, she asked if her son could have one.

But this group did much more than that.

They presented Christoper with several coins from Tampa Fire Rescue and Hillsborough County Fire Rescue and other area agencies.

They also gave him a custom display.

His mom says they plan to add to the collection wherever they go.

“I’m very proud that my son gets to participate in something special that he’ll hang on to for years," said Keely Riveiro.

The family is now working on making a coin of their own to promote autism awareness.

Then Christoper can use them to trade.

“I just think it’s a wonderful thing because it’s something he can get involved in and go out and meet people," said Riveiro.

Along with the coins, Christoper got a private tour of the Tampa Firefighters Museum.

He’s now up to 12 challenge coins, but it sounds like that number will grow in the months to come.