HANOVER, VA (WWBT) - “He is the epitome of a public safety officer,” Father Robert Clark said.
For the first time, the family of fallen Hanover hero Lt. Brad Clark is speaking out.
“We are thankful for your love and support,” Robert Clark said.
The family says they are overwhelmed by the love and support.
“He always said ‘I love you.’ I don’t think he ever left without a kiss a hug followed by ‘I love you,’” Brad’s mom Beth Giles said.
"The memory I have right now of Brad is that infectious smile of his,” Robert Clark said.
This family says the support and love they have with each other is getting them through as Brad leaves behind a loving wife and four kids.
Brad’s smile and laughter brought hundreds and hundreds of people together Wednesday for a memorial service filled with memories and love.
“When we drove into the memorial service, for me, I was so overwhelmed by all the people standing out there and going through the fire trucks,” Brad’s stepmom Patsy Clark said.
“Your support has been nothing less than perfection. the four of us can not repay what the Hanover Fire Department has given us,” Robert Clark said.
The family is thanking Hanover first responders, Governor Ralph Northam and the thousands of emails, calls and donations pouring in from the community.
“I always understood how much the brotherhood meant to the service but I never understood the well was so deep,” Robert Clark said.
First responders and friends traveled from all across the country to attend the services.
“Platoon sergeant from when he was in the military drove 1,300 miles for the visitation one night, just to turn around and go home,” Beth Giles said.
As this family pulls together in support, they want the focus now to shift.
“I’d like to see a shift now of focus to those kids up at VCU Medical Center,” Robert Clark said.
As people continue to pray for the family, the family continues to pray for others.
“Pray for the boys at VCU and pray for the guys on the street everyday taking care of us,” Robert Clark said.
Read the full statement from the family below:
I’m Brad’s dad and my wife Patsy. This is Brad’s mom, Beth Giles, and her husband, Oscar. Brad’s wife, Mel, who wanted to be here, but has a conflict.
Obviously, we are devastated with this horrific loss of our son, and we are heartbroken about the both physical, as well as mental, injuries to Brad’s awesome crew of Firefighters. We pray for you all every day. (We are here for you all.)
First, to Chief Piland, Fire Chief of the Hanover Fire / EMS Department. Your demonstration of love and support is overwhelming! We have loved you all through Brad, but this love is now so much more personal. Your support has been nothing less that perfection. The four of us can never repay what Hanover Fire Department has given us. I hate to recognize individuals, due to risk of missing someone….you and we know who you rock stars are. We all love you! Please continue your prayers and support for the injured firefighters at VCU, as well as firefighters working every day.
To Governor Northam, your staff and various agencies have been awesome. Your multiple visits and support have touched us all. Thank you sir!
The Hanover BOS, who visited twice, and other officials, we are thankful for your love and support.
To Hanover County Sheriff Hines and your team of deputies, we appreciate the total support of you all. Your total support for Hanover Fire and us is so obvious.
The Virginia State Police came to us with total support. We thank you for that. Unfortunately, I have been to many funerals for mostly firefighters – Never seen so many police officers at a firefighter’s funeral. Brad’s uncle is a retired police officer.
Our extended families – so helpful and supportive, caring. Thank you for being so close during this situation, as well as normally. This event has brought our already close family even closer, and we love that for sure.
Henrico County Division of Fire, whom I’m still a part of, even though I’m retired. Their support and love has been so important. Your visits and prayers have been awesome. Love all of you.
Chesterfield Fire, Richmond Fire, so many other departments I can’t recall, as well as numerous other agencies and organizations, thank you.
Also, I’ve got to give a shout out to Woody’s Funeral Home – Amazing support and service. Also, the kind people who donated food for visitation and service. Your generosity was tremendous.
As you can imagine, our family is devastated that our son, who was a husband, father, brother, uncle, nephew, cousin, and friend to so many great people, is no longer with us
He died doing what he so dearly loved. We are so heartbroken about his crew. We love you guys so much, and we will be here for you. Yes, Brad is surely missed, but we believe his legacy will apparently last for a while.
The outpouring of love from friends, church, and community has been endless – We all appreciate you all so much. We are fighters and will push through this devastating circumstance day by day.
During the procession, we apologize for the poor traffic conditions that so many people had to endure, but it was so heartwarming for all moms and dads, with their children, who watched our hero son being transported to the Meadow Event Park. Tell your kids that firefighters and police officers risk their lives each and every day for all of us.
Many thanks to channels 12, 8 and 6 for broadcasting his service to the region.
Lt. Brad Clark left a large footprint. He is challenging all of us to laugh, love and to be a better society.
To be more gracious, understanding, patient with others.…and yes, to be more attentive drivers. Pay better attention to driving and ensure our vehicles are in good working order. We can only hope this tragic accident can bring a higher level of awareness to our driving habits.
Please if you are so inclined, Donate to the Hanover Crew Foundation.