PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — Back in 2014 local engineer, Shanen French, began a program called “Lids for Kids.”

The non-profit refurbishes old firefighter helmets and gives them to deserving children in the community.

The friends and family of Michael Southerland gathered this morning at the Panama City Fire Department for the extra special event.

The “Lids for Kids” team and firefighters presented Michael with a refurbished fire helmet signed by the whole team.

The program sometimes gives helmets to kids going through rough times, or kids like Michael who are a light to those around them.

French said Michael stood out as a kid who deserves a helmet.

“I didn’t know Michael very well and what happened was Jim Ray and I were at a fashion show for the Arc of the Bay, and he was on stage and he was pointing at people and spinning and blowing kisses, and we looked at each other like that kid needs to get a helmet,” French said.

Besides his flashy new helmet, Michael was also recognized as a firefighter for the entire day.

Michael said he is a big fan of firefighters and dresses up like them all the time, but he was most excited to spend the day with his sister and brother.

His sister Katie said it was easy to celebrate him.

“Ever since he was born he has a way of lighting up the room, and making you smile whenever you’re having a bad day,” Southerland said.

If you know a kid how could benefit from the “Lids for Kids” program you can contact the fire department directly.