CONWAY, SC (WMBF) - Past and present firefighters from across the country came to Horry County to pay their respects to Conway firefighter Chris Ray, whose funeral was held Thursday at The Beach Church in Myrtle Beach.
The Beach Church streamed the funeral service live online, and video of the entire service is available in the video player above. Mobile users, tap here to watch the video.
"He's a brother," said Michael Skelley, with the Awendaw-McClellanville Fire Department. "We're just here to honor someone who laid down his life for the same cause that we're all trying to do."
It's been 30 years since Joe Gibbons suited up as a member of the FDNY. However, he said he will be a fireman forever, which is why he came out to honor Ray.
"We're here for the good times and the bad times," said Gibbons. "In the name of the Father and the Son, God bless those firemen."
For Greg Long, who serves with the Metropolitan Washington Airport Authority and had never met Ray, it wasn't a question of if he was going, but when he could get off work to make the eight-hour journey to Horry County.
"The fire service always comes together with tragedies," said Long. "We're here to support the family and our brother firefighters who are mourning the loss of one of their own."
After the service, the procession to Ray's resting place at Buffkin Cemetery Green Sea began. Watch video of the procession here:
Ray was part of the Conway Fire Department responding to a house fire on Hickory Circle around 3:30 p.m. Sunday. Both Conway and Horry County Fire Departments were fighting the blaze. Ray fell off the back of the truck and was hit as it backed up, South Carolina Highway Patrol said.
The S.C. State Firefighter Foundation has set up a GoFundMe page for Ray's family: https://www.gofundme.com/FallenFFChrisRay
All money raised on this page will go directly to the family, according to Jason Pope, Deputy Director of the S.C. State Firefighters' Association.