Nunez said that from the time she was a child, she had a special relationship with Almarante. When she was growing up, her brother’s mentor was the former assistant chief.

LAUREL HILL — Destiny Nunez and her son ran out to greet the Almarante Fire Department at his grandma’s house this past weekend. William, who is almost 2 year old, was celebrating his upcoming birthday with a party.


Arriving in three engines, the crew brought along gifts and balloons for the birthday boy. They also let William sit in one of the trucks.


“I want to thank the department for their true dedication,” Nunez said. “You can tell they were passionate.”


Nunez said that from the time she was a child, she had a special relationship with Almarante. When she was growing up, her brother’s mentor was the former assistant chief.


She and her brother had gone through a traumatic event as children and needed a positive role model.


Mike McVay, who is now the chief of the Laurel Hill Volunteer Fire Department, said he enjoyed spending time with Nunez and her brother.


“It was my honor to be involved,” McVay said.


Nunez said McVay took them to the fire station and brought her brother to restaurants and events. He even came to her brother’s high school and his graduation from basic training in the Army.


“He was a very positive person who showed us the right way to deal with things,” she said.


Nunez also said McVay was a pastor and helped them grow in their faith. He taught them that everything was going to be OK.


“There was hope,” she said.


McVay still keeps in touch with the family, and even surprised them at a holiday event this past year when her brother was home.


”I love the family,“ McVay said.