Community, friends remembering firefighter Kenny Edwards, Jr.
The American flag at the Ellenboro Fire Department is flying at half-mast in honor of 25-year veteran firefighter Kenny Edwards, Jr. He died Wednesday in a tree-cutting accident while on the job in Valdese.
Flags at Ellenboro Post Office and town hall are also at half-mast today as the town prepares to say farewell this afternoon to a dedicated fireman and friend.
Funeral services will be at 4 p.m. today at Glenwood Baptist Church. Burial will be at Bethel Baptist Church cemetery.
The flag drapped coffin will be placed on an Ellenboro fire truck as it makes its way from the church to US 74B and along Main Street in Ellenboro to the church cemetery. Once in Ellenboro, firefighters and members of the Rescue Unit, where Edwards, 39, also volunteered, will exit vehicles and walk in formation to the cemetery behind the fire truck.
The tower ladder trucks from Forest City and Rutherfordton fire departments will be stationed along Main Street in Ellenboro and will display American flags from the towers as the processional makes it way through town.
"We think Kenny will be looking down and say, 'all this for me'," said Assistant Fire Chief Robbie Downey, who along with Fire Chief Terry Horn, other firefighters and members of Edwards family gathered at the fire station on Saturday for lunch.
"This service will be pretty special," said Horn. "It will be a full firefighter's burial."
Edwards was described as a "fireman's fireman" and a "friend's friend" by Downey.
"He was the brother I never had," Downey said. They worked together for 22 years at the fire department.
"We have truly lost a friend. Not just a firefighter," Horn said.
During the past few days, junior firefighters have told Horn and Downey how much they respected Edwards and how much they learned from him.
"He was a mentor to the young guys and a brother to the older ones," Horn said.
"He would take them under his wing . . .and he knew when they were ready," Horn said. "He was more of a mentor than what we thought."
Downey said Edwards not only had an impact in Ellenboro, but in the Rutherford County firefighting community and in the region.
Numerous calls from outside the county have called the fire department with their thoughts and prayers, Downey said.
"But our toughest days are ahead," said Downey.
Among members of Edwards family at the fire station Saturday were his parents and children. "That was my daddy," 6-year-old Will Tesner said. "I'm going to be a fireman . . .like my daddy."