RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - The Richmond Fire community will come together once again to remember one of its own Friday - at a public viewing for Lt. Ashley Berry.
Berry was shot and killed in Hopewell on Thanksgiving. On Thursday night, those closest to her described her as a breath of fresh air, hardworking, determined and giving.
The vigil was an emotional ceremony as firefighters showed support for Berry’s family.
"Words cannot capture the anguish, the hurt and pain this fire department feels right now,” Chief Melvin Carter said. Yet he’s trying to remain strong.
"Over the weekend, I couldn’t sleep. I cried periodically and still occasionally do and I witnessed the pain and sorrow in the eyes of my employees,” the Chief added.
Thursday evening, members of the department lined up one by one, each sharing fond memories of their beloved comrade - most describing Berry as an inspiration.
"Everybody in our recruit class knew she was the best of us. Because what she couldn’t do today, she did it tomorrow and if she couldn’t’ do it tomorrow, she did it until she could,” one firefighter told a crowd.
"Evolution after evolution, Ashley was pulling hose, throwing ladders, dragging dummies inside the burn building. I was like ‘wait a minute. I have to keep up with Ashley’,” another said in a light-hearted moment.
Her family listened as they heard what they already knew, just how much this hero touched the lives of those she came in contact with.
The fire department is now pledging its support to Berry’s family because that’s what first responders do.
"Ashley was my sister so that makes us family. There’s no ask that’s too big,” a firefighter told her loved one.
A statement that’s especially true when the impact you've made is priceless.
"Lt. Ashley Berry did her duty. May we now do ours as well. Amen,” a Reverend said during closing prayer.
Berry leaves behind a young child. His godfather vowed to do everything he can to make sure the boy is supported.
Authorities have not released many details in the firefighter’s death, but they continue to investigate.
Friday’s public visitation for Berry starts at 9 a.m. and runs until 8 p.m. a Mimms Funeral Home on Hull Street. Berry’s funeral will be held at Second Baptist Church in South Richmond on Saturday at noon.
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