Graduation day is special and most of us would want our family to witness this special moment. However, for a woman in Michigan it was a tough day as she could not share it with her loving dad Ed Switalski, who was killed in the line of duty. But, there was a surprise in store for her.
Her father’s colleagues showed up and supported her on the big day. Switalski, a Comstock Township fire chief, was killed in June 2017 while he was responding to an accident call. He was standing near the rear of his vehicle and getting ready to leave the scene when a passing vehicle lost control and hit him, killing him on the spot.
“You know, after these things happen, life keeps moving on and you have to kind of just roll with the punches,” Emily Switalski told.
“I knew going into the ceremony that it was going to be a very bittersweet day for me just because when I was going into the year originally I didn’t think that my dad would be missing my graduation,” she said.
Luckily, she felt her father’s spirit was there, even though he wasn’t able to make it in person.
“There’s a song, ‘Hotel California’ by the Eagles, that we played at his funeral,” she said. “We always say whenever it comes on, ‘He’s with us.’”
“And my mom picked me up to take me to my ceremony, and on the radio was the song. And so, just to get in the car to go to the biggest day of my life and hear that, I knew he was truly with me.”
As she entered to cross the stage, she was surprised to see a group of men standing beside her mother and sister.
“I saw that my mom and my sister were still sitting down and I thought, ‘that’s strange’ and I looked over and I saw the firemen that came out to support me and make my day a little bit more special since my dad couldn’t be there,” she told.
The firemen also had some advice to the newly graduated. “Just do everything to make my dad proud and just go out there and be the best person I possibly could be,” they said.