Excerpts from the ChicagoTribune.com:

The Chicago Heights Fire Department has a new honorary lieutenant among its ranks.

Ten year-old Rocco Debergh, a cancer survivor who spearheaded a community-wide collection of coloring books for hospitalized children, celebrated his honorary position June 1 with more than two dozen friends and family at the city’s fire station at 51 E. 19th Place.

Chicago Heights Fire Chief Jeffrey Springer said Rocco’s helpful spirit is exactly what he looks for in a great fireman.

“I just thought this was so special, a boy, 10 years old going through what he’s going through and thinking about others,” Springer said. “That’s what we do in the fire service, we think about others. It’s such an honor to be here for him. . . From what he’s been through, it’s just such a blessing that he is still here and is in good spirits.”

The Chicago Heights boy said he used coloring books to take his mind off of the cancer while he was receiving chemotherapy, and wanted to share that joy with others. Rocco, who marks two years being cancer-free this summer, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in 2009.

After writing a letter to his principal at Greenbriar Elementary School in Chicago Heights inviting schoolmates to donate coloring books and crayons, the message spread like wildfire. On March 18, he and his family delivered 2,000 coloring books to the University of Chicago Medicine’s Comer Children’s Hospital.

When then-interim Chicago Heights Fire Chief Tim Kennedy heard Rocco’s story, he felt moved to celebrate the youngster’s actions.

“He is just such a great inspiration for all of us,” Kennedy said. “And with his uncle (Ron Lucarini) being one of the chiefs here, it just makes tonight really special.”

Rocco wasn’t the only one appointed honorary lieutenant; his younger brother, Bronx, 7, also was pinned with a ceremonial honor for being a great supporter of his brother.

thanks Dan