Community prepares to honor fallen firefighter Richard Sheltra in memorial race

- Early one year ago Firefighter Richard Sheltra lost his life while battling a fire in Pineville. Now, the Town of Pineville, Mecklenburg County and beyond are doing what they can to remember the man who risked it all for others.

After a fire took the life of the young firefighter, the Pineville Fire Department said they’re committed to fighting fires and protecting the community now more than ever.

“We continue to do that because that’s what he would have wanted, that’s what he did that night,” they said.

Related: Volunteer fire department receives citations from Department of Labor after death of Richard Sheltra

Richard Sheltra was called to a fire at Edwin Watts Golf Shop after a thunderstorm. Chief Mike Gerin said Sheltra was one of the first to go inside the burning building but the only one who didn’t come out alive.

“I thought that I understood the definition of a brotherhood but I quickly learned that I didn’t understand what brotherhood meant until he passed,” Gerin said.

Since then, the Pineville Fire Department has turned their department into a memorial for Sheltra. His turnout gear, his fire hose, even renaming the fire truck used that night in his name.

And the ultimate event to add to his legacy – a race through the streets of Pineville. The Richard Sheltra Memorial Race on the anniversary of his death.

Related: Firefighter brotherhood helps Sheltra family find lost phone with photos of fallen firefighter

“He’s proud every day that we are continuing to remember his name and create his legacy and that we are trying to reach firefighters to be safe on the scene,” Gerin said.

The Pineville Fire Department along with volunteers from Anytime Fitness and McCullough Neighborhood have organized and renamed a road race in Sheltra’s honor.

“We want this to be his legacy. Richard was a big workout guy so we want this to be his legacy.”

The 10K part of the race starts at the Belle Johnson Center in Pineville, travels down Main Street up 51 through the McCullough neighborhood, then back toward the fire department.

The firefighters want people filling the streets in support.

“We need runners, we need volunteers if anything. Come cheer people on but more importantly come for Richard.”

The anniversary of Sheltra’s death is next month. FOX 46 Charlotte will be sitting down with the family to hear what they think of the community coming together in their son’s honor.

There is still time to register for the race! If you'd like to run/walk or volunteer, CLICK HERE!

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