Dec 27, 2012 8:50 PM by Connie Tran, KSBY News

Local firefighter helps young teen by becoming his "big brother"

Firefighters are out in our communities saving lives everyday, but there is one who's touching the life of a young teen, in the most unique way.

Cal Fire Apparatus Engineer John Byrne, who works out of the Nipomo station, is the "big brother" of 14-year old Tyler Overley.

"He's a good guy, and I learned a lot from him," said Overley.

But Byrne and Overley aren't blood related, some would say they're closer than that. Byrne joined the "Big Brothers, Big Sisters" program over the summer, and he said his match to Overley was perfect, because they've dealt with similar situations. For example, both guys battle ADD, attention deficit disorder.

"I grew up with ADD and I had a lot of challenges growing up," said Byrne.

Now, he shares with his young mentee ways to combat some of those struggles. Byrne said he tells Overley that one can use their energy in both good and bad ways, and if he uses his energy in a good way, and gets involved in positive things, he can be really successful. Byrne aimed his positive energy not only at being a mentor to Overley, but he also recently accomplished a cross-country bike ride to raise money for his sister who's suffering from a spinal cord injury.

Overly shared, "the fact that he did it for his sister, it's mind blowing."

Byrne said Overley inspires him to do good, only enhancing their brotherly bond.

"Big Brothers, Big Sisters" of San Luis Obispo County said Byrne and Overley's friendship and support for one another has inspired two other Cal Fire firefighters to join the program and help other young people too.



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