MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — There’s an unexpected update to a story from last week about a Burnsville firefighter. Bill D’Agostino retired Wednesday afternoon after 36 years on the job.
As we told you last week, he got a very special retirement gift from a longtime friend — Noah Hamm. It was a heartfelt thank you book, filled with photos of Noah visiting the Burnsville fire station since he was 6 years old in 2004.
It started a bond and relationship so deep that Noah decided to become a firefighter himself. He’s now in college in Fairbanks, Alaska, and fighting fires full time. And Wednesday afternoon, it came full circle.
At Burnsville City Hall, first responders gathered for the best of reasons.
One by one, fire captain Bill D’Agostino said hello to his family and friends before he said goodbye to a 36-year career at his retirement ceremony.
“I came down the hallway and couldn’t believe the noise — all these people here for me,” he said.
But little did he know, the friend who lives the farthest away was close by, too.
After hearing about the lifelong bond that sparked years ago between Bill and Noah, Noah’s chief in Alaska flew him to Minnesota for the occasion.
Dressed in uniform, firefighter Noah Hamm approached his mentor Bill with a major surprise.
“Happy retirement, brother,” Noah said, as Bill paused in disbelief, responding “How did you get here?!”
“I can’t believe you’re here.” Bill said to Noah. “Wouldn’t miss it,” Noah replied.
Fourteen years after it all began, Noah’s grandmother snapped one last photo of the two.
“I’m incredibly proud,” Bill said. “I’m as proud of Noah as I am of my own children.”
And it’s clear that even though this firefighter’s job has ended, his service will carry on.
Bill’s two children who are Hennepin County Paramedics, too. He’s only made one plan for retirement so far — a trip to Alaska.