In acknowledgment of his kind attempts to console an elderly widow during the Champlain Towers memorial service conducted in June, an 11-year-old yeshiva student from Surfside received a special civics lesson this week when he was appointed the town’s honorary mayor.
At Surfside’s town commission meeting on August 8, Kasriel Gewirtz received the honorary title.
He took the oath of office, which was performed by Representative Fabian Basabe, and joined the town officials on the dais, where an official nameplate bore his name and the words “Honorary Mayor.”
Gewirtz led the Pledge of Allegiance to begin the meeting while wearing a gray yarmulka, a blazer, and a pair of black and red Converse high-top sneakers. He also posed for photos with town officials, including Mayor Shlomo Danzinger.
Before speaking to the group, Basabe took a minute to address Aaron and Meira Gewirtz, the parents of the young honoree.
As he described the memorial service and how one woman was sobbing so uncontrollably that it brought everyone else to tears, Basabe was clearly impacted. Basabe replied, “I swear, I thought they were connected. This young man knelt down next to her, wrapped his arms around her, comforted her, and provided calm to the woman.
And when I walked over to tell her how lucky she was to have such a wonderful relative, she replied, “I don’t know the boy; he just came and sat next to me.” Basabe remembered being in shock over what he had just witnessed at the memorial.
Consider me your friend,” Basabe declared, presenting Gewirtz with a state proclamation. “I’ll be by your side for anything you need in life,” she said. Not only Basabe, but others also observed Gewirtz’s behavior at the memorial service.
The Miami Herald published a photo of him sitting next to the upset woman, but that image only tells half the story of the sincere assistance the young student gave that day.
Gewirtz wept when he went home to his family, but soon felt ready to leave the house once more. Aaron Gewirtz, his father, told VIN News that he immediately realized his son was going back to the hotel where the memorial service had been held.