WORCESTER, Mass. - The airline JetBlue honored fallen Worcester firefighter, Lt. Jason Menard, Saturday by sending one of their special aircrafts to the city to pay tribute.
It was a touching moment for those who came to the airport to get a glimpse of the plane painted red in honor of the New York City Fire Department. But on Saturday, it was one of Worcester's own that got the salute from the sky.
From a distance it looks like any other JetBlue aircraft but look closely and you’ll see it carries far more than just passengers.
"It was very fun and exciting to see it," said Mary-Kate Perry of Worcester.
A message of honor, from above. The colors and inscription were that of the New York City Fire Department, but the tribute was meant for a fallen Worcester lieutenant on Saturday.
"Worcester does an amazing time coming together to support the firefighters, their families, and those who are really impacted by all of it," Perry said.
About a dozen people braved the cold at Worcester Regional Airport to pay their respects, watching the "Blue Bravest" aircraft drop off passengers from Florida.
Lt. Jason Menard died Wednesday putting others' lives before his own, helping save his fellow firefighters who had trouble getting out of a burning home. Menard was a 39-year-old husband and father of three kids.
"It's just been really tough," said Siobhan Graham of Worcester. "But at times like this, everyone comes together, and you really see that sense of community and you can feel how everyone really comes together."
The special aircraft was requested by another local firefighter to honor Menard's memory and sacrifice.
"It's a sad time and it's going to be a tough road ahead," Graham said. "But we're strong and we'll get through."
A wake for Menard will be held on Sunday with funeral services scheduled for Monday.
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