MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Before the sun rose Saturday morning, members one local fitness had already hit the ground running.
All of them running, stretching and jumping - in honor of someone special to them and the community.
One week ago, Myrtle Beach Police Pfc. Jacob Hancher died while responding to a call for service. Before he became an officer, however, Hancher worked out with the F3 Grand Strand group while training.
According to the group, F3 focuses on faith, fellowship, and fitness, and it was there that Hancher was given the nickname “Hightower.”
“His goal was to be in the police force, and I wanted to help him get in shape so it was a perfect fit," said Hancher’s neighbor Elton Oakley, who first brought him to F3 years ago. “I remember one time after Jacob got started he texted me asking are you going in the morning? And that would get me geared up, I pull up to his house at 4:45 and he was like a clock, he’d come around the corner and jump in the truck."
Oakley says he came out today to honor a life cut short too soon.
“Just the grin is what I’m gonna miss about him. Just that true grin and happiness," he said.
“I remember running with him, building him up to become an officer," said fellow member Tim Akerlund, who also worked out with Hancher. “He was shy at first but once he got involved with us, you could see him grow and become a man."
Akerlund also said he’s leaning on his faith right now during this trying time.
“God always pulls me through," he said. "So having God with us, we know he’s in a good place.”