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It was nearly five months ago that a Nogales firefighter fell victim to a hit and run accident. But, a children’s book dedicated to Sterling Lytle is keeping his memory alive.
Lytle was the victim of a hit and run on June 28. A week later his family made the tough decision to take him off of life support.
Family and friends describe his fun and easy going personality. His step father, Casey Barcelo said, “He would never say no. He was always helpful.”
“Sterling was a volunteer. He was born to wear blue,” said Patty Vallance. “Born to Wear Blue” is the title of the children’s book that Patty wrote. Proceeds benefit the Greater Tucson Fire Foundation, a nonprofit serving the needs of local firefighters. The foundation owns all the book’s property rights and rights to reproduce.
Lytle volunteered as a firefighter for Helmet Peak and was employed with Nogales Fire since November 2011. “It wasn’t a job. It was what we did. It was who we were. That is what he lived for,” said Lytle’s friend Kevin Chaffee.
The first edition of “Born to Wear Blue” was dedicated to Sterling, a decision for which his family and friends could not thank Patty enough.
“When she began going through the process of letting us go through it page by page, it really hit close to home. And really showed us that that book was about Sterling even though it wasn’t written about Sterling,” said Aftin Chaffee.
The book was inspired by three consecutive nights of riding along with local firefighters.
“I came home and it was 1 o’clock in the morning. And I was just processing what a glimpse into their world that I had been given. And the book poured out of me in 10 minutes,” Vallance said.
Life lessons are taught, flipping through the pages, like how to call 911. It also shows children what it means to be a firefighter.
“When a grown up does a job, work is what they do. For firefighters, work is who they are,” she said.
“They do the right thing, no matter how tough. Because doing the right thing is still right when it’s rough. They grow up to be firefighters, that’s what they do. Ready to rescue, save me and save you,” Vallance reads her favorite lines, words in a story creating a new chapter of Sterling’s legacy.
For more information on “Born to Wear Blue” visit: http://borntowearblue.org/