MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) – A local pipes and drums band held its final practice Tuesday night before performing on Thursday at the funeral of Conway firefighter Chris Ray.
The Coastal Carolina Shield Pipes and Drums band was rehearsing at 7 p.m. Tuesday at a public safety building in The Market Common area.
Comprised of local law enforcement and firefighters both past and present, the group was busy working on a rendition of "Amazing Grace" ahead of Thursday's service at the Beach Church in Myrtle Beach.
The group will also play at least two other songs to honor the life and service of Ray.
"We ache as much as the guys that rode aside him on the fire truck. We hurt as much as they do," said Michael Fanning, Pawleys Island Police Chief and member of Coastal Carolina Shield. "To be able to lend support to them is very important to us."
"We're not doing it for the thanks or the attention, we're doing it to provide some sort or easement of pain or comfort to the family, the coworkers, and the friends," said Andy Brown, a founding member of the group.
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.
Watch a clip from the group's rehearsal below.