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Washington boy becomes honorary rescue swimmer in Alaska

Petty Officer 1st Class Keola Marfil, Petty Officer 2nd Class Cody Dickey and honorary Petty Officer 3rd Class Andrew Bishop prepare to hoist a hiker with simulated injuries, Kodiak, Alaska, July 8, 2017. Bishop, an 8-year-old boy from Woodland, Wash., was designated as an honorary rescue swimmer aboard the MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter after completing modified rescue swimmer training and basic air crewman training. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Petty Officer 2nd Class Meredith Manning

KODIAK, Alaska (AP) — An 8-year-old boy from Woodland, Washington, has become an honorary rescue swimmer with the U.S. Coast Guard in Alaska.

Andrew Bishop went through his training at Air Station Kodiak on Friday, The Kodiak Daily Mirror reported.

Andrew has a life-threatening medical condition. The Make-A-Wish Foundation made his trip to Alaska possible.

Petty Officer 1st Class Keola Marfil, who trained with Andrew, said he doesn't think anything could have crushed Andrew's spirits while training in the water.

"I've never been a part of a wish before," Marfil said. "It's amazing to see. ... I just feel lucky to be a part of it, because it's something that he'll remember for the rest of his life and it's something I'll remember for the rest of my life."

His father, T.J. Bishop, said Andrew first learned about rescue swimmers two years ago during a physical therapy trip to Florida. Andrew befriended a rescue swimmer from Air Station Miami and the idea blossomed.

"I think I'm probably in more awe than (Andrew) is," Bishop said. "He will talk about this forever. ... He'll never forget any of this."

Andrew was given an official rescue swimmer number. His name will be on the board at the Aviation Technical Training Center in Elizabeth City as an honorary rescue swimmer.


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