Abby Leach is a member of the Class of 2020 at Padua Academy and during what was supposed to be a graduation photo shoot on Wednesday, May 27, 2020, she received a lights and sirens surprise.
Leach was having her picture taken in her cap and gown on the front steps of the school on Broom Street when off duty firefighters bearing flowers and well-wishes arrived and gave her a round of applause.
Then it got loud.
A line of Wilmington fire apparatus with lights flashing, sirens wailing, and firefighters waving and applauding then drove by.
Leach is the daughter of Chris Leach, one of three Wilmington firefighters who died as the result of a Canby Park arson fire in September, 2016.
The fire also claimed the lives of Jerry Fickes and Ardy Hope.
It was two years ago that children of all three firefighters graduated from high school. Brendan Leach from Salesianum; Joshua Fickes from Charter School of Wilmington; and, Hope's daughter Alexis Lee from St. Elizabeth's High School.
In the non-COVID times of June, 2018, uniformed Wilmington Fire Department personnel attended each of those graduation ceremonies.
With coronavirus restrictions limiting graduation ceremonies, the Wilmington Fire Department brought the party to Padua for Leach.