A hero's farewell for Goose Creek firefighter Steve Skipton
GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) -- He was one of those guys who rushed into homes and businesses during a crisis; that was his job. But on Thursday, Goose Creek firefighter Steve Skipton was remembered for the way he lived his life.
Skipton survived hundreds of dangerous calls only to lose his life to cancer, a disease that's killed thousands of firefighters.
But those who knew Skipton would tell anyone who listening that he was one in a million. And at Thursday's funeral, a crowd filled the church fitting for a man with a huge presence.
It was a service for someone who selflessly served his community for 25 years.
"Steve and his partner at the time, mind you in an ambulance not protected, ran into a burning building and pulled an elderly lady along with his partner to safety," said longtime friend Chris Williams.
Skipton, 41, was a firefighter and a paramedic. From the mean streets of Camdenm, New Jersey, to 9/11, to the relative quiet of a small town called Goose Creek, Skipton answered the call.
That is until cancer ravaged his body for months. The battle left four children without their father, a wife longing for her best friend, and a mother without her son.
"Mom, he was your baby boy," Tracy McEneaney, Skipton's sister, said. "I know you had only one son but he had many brothers and I know they love you."
Firefighters and EMTs, some Southern and others from New Jersey found themselves pulled together by a big-hearted friend.
"His laugh, I mean his laugh kind of made everybody happy."
"He'll talk to anybody, he'll be anybody's friend it doesn't matter who you are."
"He's the guy you know if I was going someplace really bad in the nastiness, he's the guy I want there with me. I know he's got my back."
And incredibly humble to the end.
"I was on the final call at his house before they took him down to MUSC. I was first on the scene, walked in, he was just having a hard time, and the first thing he asked was, 'Hey, how's it going?'" said one member of his brotherhood of firefighters. "It's him, that's just how he was."
"On one hand I think he would be really impressed to see everybody here and he'd appreciate it, but on the other hand I think he'd be kind of maybe a little embarrassed or a little, 'Hey guys, don't do all this for me,'" said another.
But in this brotherhood, no one goes it alone whether it's a journey home or that final call.
Skipton's oldest son is following in his footsteps as a firefighter in Charlotte.
There has been a fund established to help Skipton's family. ?Donations can be made here?.?