PINEVILLE, NC (WJZY) - An outpouring of support in memory of fallen firefighter Richard Sheltra. On Thursday the Pineville Fire Department held a fundraiser BBQ where the community got results supporting a cause close to their hearts.
"It's kinda hard to measure, how close the community is until something like this happens," Pineville Fire Chief Michael Gerin said.
Until now, Gerin hasn't talked much about the horrific loss his department suffered nearly one month ago. On April 30, firefighter Richard Sheltra was killed while fighting a blaze at a golf store in Pineville. He died serving his community.
"It just breaks my heart, and I've got a son that's getting ready to graduate high school, and he's got a passion for public service and I know he's going to be in there somewhere, and I'm hoping and praying nothing like that ever happens to him," Jenny Carr, who attended the fundraiser, said.
Given the impact Sheltra had on the Town of Pineville, it's not surprising that the turnout was big for the fire department's annual fundraiser BBQ.
Sheltra's mom and other family members served food, volunteering their time to work the event.
This year all the money is going to support the Richard Sheltra Memorial Fund, which will help provide turnout gear and educational resources for firefighters.
The event was so successful they ran out of BBQ not even an hour and a half in - and organizers expect to raise $5,000. That's more than double what they've done in the past! They sold 400 pounds of barbecue.
"We just want to raise awareness, let the fire department know what he meant to our community, let his family know what he meant to our community," Jathomas Williamson, an event organizer, said.
The fire chief said the message was received. Gerin said, "It's a true testament of how much people loved him."