Firefighter communities prepare to say goodbye to longtime friend, colleague

      GOOSE CREEK, S.C. (WCIV) - Steve Skipton, a Goose Creek firefighter and 9/11 first responder battling Stage 4 cancer, died Saturday evening surrounded by friends and family.He was 41. Cancer had spread to his kidneys, lungs, and pelvis, friends said.Skipton was the co-owner of The social media company sent a last alarm alert moments before midnight Saturday."It is with great sadness that we announce that our brother Stephen Skipton Sr. passed away peacefully and with family and friends at his side Saturday evening," the message read.On Monday, black drapes cast a shadow over the Goose Creek Fire Department. Firefighters tied black bunting on all the department's trucks."That's how we mourn in the fire service," Capt. Todd Pruitt said.Skipton served more than 20 years as a firefighter and in emergency medical services in New Jersey. His friends said he answered the call on September 11.

      "It was hard for all the responders and for Steve also but it was a calling he was glad to do," Goose Creek Fire Chief Steve Chapman said.

      The father of four answered the call again years later - this time, for his family. He decided to move his wife and children to Goose Creek in 2010."He thought Goose Creek would offer that opportunity to raise his children in a peaceful environment. That spoke volumes to me. He really put his family first," Chapman said.His colleagues said he was a role model at work and at home."People looked up to him. He was a mentor of the fire service," Pruitt said.But in April, he faced a new battle, friends said. He took on cancer. "He had a favorite saying. He'd always say, 'It is what it is.' He said that to me many times when he was sick. He was positive and willing to fight. He was thinking about his family and his friends more than himself." Chapman said.ABC News 4 was at his homecoming in June, just in time for Father's Day. But, two months later, the cancer overtook his body. His colleagues thought his time at Ground Zero may have contributed. If so, he'd be one of thousands believed to have died as a result of their 9/11 service, according to federal officials.But in four years, it was clear Skipton left a lasting mark in Goose Creek."Steve would want us to continue doing our jobs, running calls, serving the public. So in his honor, that's exactly what we're doing," Chapman said.Skipton served with the fire department with Bellmawr Park Fire Department and working EMS for UMDNJ both in Camden City and Newark. He also served as a member of the EMS task force during the weeks following the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.He moved to Goose Creek to serve as a firefighter. Due to his illness, he had not worn his Goose Creek fire gear since March.According to, both the viewing and the funeral will be held at Northwoods Assembly Church on North Main Street in Summerville. You can donate to Steve's fund here.The viewing will be from 11 a.m. until 1 p.m. with the funeral immediately after. SConFire released the following route: North Main Street to College Park Road; College Park Road to Crowfield Boulevard; Crowfield Boulevard to St. James Avenue.{}

      Goose Creek firefighters and family will turn left to the McAlister-Smith Funeral home. The rest of the vehicles will turn right onto St. James Avenue and meet for a reception at the Goose Creek Fire Department, Station 1, at 101 Button Hall Ave. in Goose Creek.