ROANOKE (WSLS 10) - The community united Thursday morning for a local legend. Fire and EMS members from across our region said their final goodbyes to 57-year-old Botetourt County Fire and EMS Chief Jeff Beckner. Beckner unexpectedly passed Friday.
An American flag drapes the casket. Dozens of local fire and EMS members stand in silence and salute Chief Beckner outside of First Baptist Church.
With lights flashing, firetrucks from more than 10 different agencies, lead Beckner's funeral procession down Shenandoah Avenue to his final resting place at Sherwood Cemetery.
Loved by many, more than 400 people joined the procession.
"People came from Henry County, I saw the chief from Stanton, you had people from the state come," said Tiffany Bradbury with Roanoke Fire EMS. "It just lets you know and I hope it also lets the family know how much Jeff was loved and how devoted he was to the fire service and his communities."
"It's a big deal for a fireman in any perspective to lose his life, but Chief Beckner was someone everyone knew,' said community member Michelle Belton. "He was an all-around good guy."
Many described Beckner as a person with a bigger than life presence. Earlier this week we met with Botetourt Fire Chief Jason Ferguson who described Beckner as a pillar in the community.
"He's been referred to as so many different things over the years and the past few days in terms of his magnitude," said Ferguson. "His magnitude is echoing through the community."
Over the past 30-years, Beckner served Roanoke and Botetourt County Fire and EMS. Now, dispatch makes one last final call to service to honor Beckner.
"We will never forget your honor and courage," radioed dispatch. "You will be missed but, never forgotten."