HORRY COUNTY, SC (WMBF) - Horry County Fire Rescue continues to mourn the loss of Furman "Mitch" Hanna on Wednesday, who was killed in a motorcycle accident one year ago.
It was a year ago that a picture of Mitch Hanna watching over from above, hundreds of family members, friends, and fellow firefighters gathered to remember the man that inspired so many of them.
"He would make you laugh, he would make you cry, and he was always there for you. He was a true brother," said longtime friend and fellow firefighter, Chris Regan.
Hanna's wife, Jennifer Hanna, a firefighter for the North Myrtle Beach Department of Public Safety, was killed nine months after her husband on the same motorcycle on October 5 of 2015.
On Wednesday, the HCFR posted a photo of Hanna in his memory.
Hanna's life ended on Tuesday, January 6 2015, when his motorcycle collided with a station wagon off Enoch road in Horry County. The 31 year old had been a firefighter with Horry County Fire Rescue for more than nine years. His fellow brothers called him a fireman's fireman.
"Whenever you're close to individuals, whenever you spend a third of your life or more with them, you're definitely going to feel it every second, every minute of the day," said Ethan Gibbons, another friend and fellow firefighter.
At the memorial service, men and women from just about every department in the county showed up to pay their respects. Some shared stories that made those gathered laugh, others shared ones that made them cry, but by the end of the service, even if some of the hundreds in attendance had never actually met Hanna before, they left knowing how much Hanna meant to his community. For those that did know him, they have been counting on each other to get through this tough time.
"It's tough, and the brotherhood has really shown, we've all kind of come together and stuck together and we're working on getting through it together," Regan said.
Towards the end of the service, Hanna's wife stepped up to the podium and shared some of her favorite stories. She highlighted his love for motorcycles and talked about how he always lived life to the fullest. She also gave out some advice so everyone could live a life like Hanna. "If you have a dream chase it, if you have a passion live it, if your life isn't what you want it to be, change it," said his wife Jen.
It was the final goodbye for so many firefighters who spent part of their own lives serving with Hanna. They say even though Hanna is gone, his spirit and love for life will always stick with them.