Three-year-old Daelynn Bitzer has not only become famous in her small Northern California town, but also in Lamar County, all thanks to her love of the Paris Fire Department firefighters.
“I love watching the lip sync battles, and it became our thing when police departments and fire departments started doing the challenge,” said Daelynn’s mom, Shauna Bitzer. “Then one night, we were both going through watching them all, and Paris Fire Department’s video came up, and she just fell in love, and it quickly became her favorite to watch.”
Bitzer and daughter live in Quincy, California, just 70 miles away from the historic Camp Fire that has claimed lives, structures and towns.
“We have friends that have lost their homes, but Daelynn took it upon herself, this little 3-year-old, to donate her toys to other kids that lost everything. She has the biggest little heart,” Bitzer said.
The Paris Fire Department entered the lip sync challenge in response to a lip sync video by the Paris Police Department, which has garnered more than 100,000 views. At the end of the police department’s video, officers said they didn’t want to forget their brothers in red and challenged them to retaliate.
“The challenge was all in good fun, and we have a fun rivalry with the fire department. We are delighted they were able to inspire people outside of Paris,” Paris Police Chief Bob Hundley said.
The fire department responded with lip syncs to Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball,” King George Straight’s “Fireman” and Daelynn’s favorite part, “Thunder” by Imagine Dragons.
“She calls the boys Lightning, Silver, Thunder, and always asks every day to watch the video,” Bitzer said.
Bitzer said Daelynn discovered the young girl’s love of firefighters last year when their hometown was under threat of the Minerva fire. At one point then, the family received a voluntary evacuation request.
Bitzer, who worked at a local supermarket, said Daelynn saw plenty of firefighters and was always the first to say “thank you for keeping us safe.” The mother thought it would be a short-lived phase for her daughter, given most little girls’ love of Barbies and such, but it appears Daelynn’s affinity for firefighters is here to stay — especially after the Paris Fire Department crew, some 1,775 miles away, found a home in the young girl’s heart.
“After she continued watching the video every day, I only wanted to reach out to the Paris Fire Department to let them know they inspired a little 3-year-old from California with their video,” Bitzer said. “Then, just the other week, Daelynn got to open a special package from your fire department with a little hat and shirt. She was so excited and made sure we knew what each firefighter looked like as they signed the hat with their character from the video. Cade Oates as Sparky was the clear front-runner favorite, but she loves them all.”
Daelynn quickly donned her new shirt and wore it to bed that night. The next day, her mom took her to lunch at a local restaurant, where Daelynn told everyone about the gifts she received.
“She is kind of famous in our small town now, just from the small package of gifts, the Paris Fire Department sent her. It’s kind of funny, and this little 3-year-old is now known for her love of firefighters,” Bitzer said.
“We have one of those jobs that many times we meet people on the worst day of there lives. So when Shauna messaged us, we wanted to send a ‘thank you’ to Daelynn for being a fan and liking our video. We love every chance to put smiles on a face,” Paris Fire Department’s Chad Graves said. “We certainly have a tough exterior, but we are all soft at heart, and we want to brighten as many peoples day as we can.”
Paris Fire Departmant Assistant Chief Thomas McMonigle, who is acting chief as the department searches for its next leader, said he is speechless and overwhelmed with pride to hear how his department has inspired someone outside the community.
“I’m very, very proud of their love of people and service to communities, not just ours. They never think twice to go above and beyond to help anyone they can. It not only touches our hearts as a department but mine personally as well,” McMonigle said. “Our community inspires us every day we turn up to work, and now we have Daelynn as well to add to that list. We do this job not for the money, but for the love of helping our community and people everywhere.”