RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - As hundreds of mourners come together to honor the life and legacy of Lt. Brad Clark, his fellow brothers and sisters in law enforcement say they are here to support the family and honor a hero.
“It makes you proud to be a firefighter - that other people care,” Firefighter Carroll Smith said.
Carroll Smith has been in fire service for 54 years and currently serves with Powhatan Fire Department.
“We all try to be close and support each other when things happen, like when this happened,” Smith said.
“It’s just like losing one of your children or family members. We are all a family,” Huguenot Volunteer Firefighter Floyd Greene said.
It especially hits close to home for Greene since he knows the Clark family.
“I met him and I worked with his father. His father is a retiree from Henrico,” Greene said.
“It doesn’t matter where you are from, what country, what municipality. It’s the brotherhood,” Andrew Zysk, with the Newport News Fire Department, said.
It’s that sense of brotherhood Zysk said brought together hundreds of first responders.
“I’m here to honor Lt. Clark and the sacrifices he made in the line of duty,” Kevin Summers said.
Kevin Summers is from Sacramento, California and said he made the cross country trip to honor the life and legacy of his fallen brother.
"Fire fighters all across the country, when we lose one - it hurts all of us.” Summers said.
It’s a bond like no other.
“There’s no way to explain it to anyone unless you’ve been there, and that creates a bond in the fire house,” Summers said.
Zysk said they gathered to honor a man who died trying to help others.
"I didn’t know Brad personally, but I had friends that knew Brad and they spoke highly of him and that’s all I needed to know in order to be here today,” Zysk said.
Through peaks and valleys, days like Wednesday serve as a reminder of the dangerous job of first responders.
"Down in the back of your mind, you know today could be the last day I’m alive. It could be the last day I put on the boots and helmet, and last day to serve the community.” Summers said.
“We don’t just go to fires, we don’t just go to EMS calls, we fix problems,” Greene said.
“Usually when people dial 911 they are having a bad day, and that’s what we try to do, make their day better,” Smith said.