Sherrills Ford, N.C. - Many people put their running shoes on, all to support the firefighter brotherhood and the Bradley Long Memorial 5K Race.
For the Long family, it was a day of mixed feelings.
"It's a great day but it's for a sad reason I guess it what you would want to say," Captain Bradley Long’s father, Jerry Long said.
Jerry’s son Bradley died last year searching for a missing swimmer on Lake Norman.
"It’s been a hard year. Some days it feels like it was yesterday. Some days it feels like it's been forever. I have my worst times when I’m by myself. I have more time to think. I try to keep my mind busy. Some days it's not real. I look for him to come busting through the door with some of his crazy stuff he went along with," Long said.
This memorial run is a reminder to them that Bradley still lives on through the brotherhood and through the Sheltra family, whom they have bonded with through their similar grief.
"We are supporting the brotherhood, we are supporting each other. The long family has constantly been in touch with us. It's only right that, it's not an obligation. We are part of an elite group of people no one wants to be members of,” Father of Fallen firefighter Richard Sheltra, Michael Sheltra said.
"It’s because of a sad occasion that you gain so many people as a family and love and support. It's not only the brotherhood and the fire service, but it's this community of Sherrills Ford has been such a wonderful support. It's been unbelievable," Long said.
"I saw him grow up in the fire service and it really fills your heart seeing all these people come out in his honor and memory," Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue Deputy Chief Justin Butler said.
The Bradley Long memorial 5k run and fund has been set up to assist with fire prevention education and scholarship opportunities for future fire fighters. Something the long family tells FOX 46 Charlotte was near and dear to Captain Long's heart.