PAWLEYS ISLAND, SC (WMBF) – On Saturday, Midway Fire Rescue officially retired Battalion Chief Josh Carney's firefighter number 646, the first number ever retired in the stations 57-year history.
For nearly 20 years, Battalion Chief Josh Carney served at Midway Fire Rescue, but in October Carney passed away after a four-month battle with cancer.
Over the years, cancer has claimed the lives of millions, but what cancer didn't claim, was Carney's legacy.
Today Josh's wife Lillian is keep that legacy alive by raising awareness of cancer prevention.
"No one should have to go through this, I do not want another wife at Midway or another wife anywhere have to be handed the folded flag that was once on her husband's casket," said Carney.
Josh's passing also has initiated conversations of cancer prevention with firefighters at the Midway Fire Station.
"It was considered to be a badge of honor have the dirtiest, smokiest gear and have soot all over your face, the sweaty arms and now we know that is terrible," said Fire Chief Doug Eggiman.
Carney's cancer was not officially related to his career as a firefighter, but firefighters do have an increased risk.
"Josh's pass really drove home to people that this is real, there's a saying that cancer sucks and I can't say it anymore blunt than that," said Eggiman.
"I'm starting to do more research on my own to make sure the other wives and families don't have to go through what me and Shayla have gone through," said Carney.
Carney's wife Lillian and daughter Shayla were also presented with a joint resolution by the state of South Carolina honoring Battalion Chief Carney.
Josh's mother was also in attendance, she said her son got to live out his dream of being a firefighter and serving others.