By John Smist | May 14, 2020 at 10:51 PM EDT – Updated May 14 at 10:51 PM
WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) -Hundreds of people who knew firefighter Michael Stanley came together to pay their respects at a funeral service at the fairgrounds in Whiteville on Thursday.
Stanley, who served for both the Whiteville and New Hanover County fire departments, died following a motorcycle accident on May 4th.
The fairgrounds were used to allow for proper social distancing and for people to stay in their cars and listen to the service that was broadcast on the radio.
“With everything going on, there are so many things that we can’t do,” said Jama Hooks. So, it’s just amazing they were all able to be here together to support one another.”
“Such a small time-frame to pull all this together…it’s amazing,” added Lynda Clemmons. “It’s a sad occasion but it’s amazing that this many people came to stand by (Michael) him.”
Whiteville Fire Chief David Yergeau says the plan came together in just a few days.
“I used members of my department and ran it like a major incident and gave assignments out,” said Yergeau. “Along with the help from New Hanover County, the Honor Guard and Chief Hall and the funeral home assisted in making sure everything was in the proper way to be able to pull this off.”
“He was loved by both communities–New Hanover County and the City of Whiteville–where he spent the most of his careers,” added New Hanover County Fire Chief Donnie Hall. “It just says a lot that we were able to pull this together and have several hundred people be able to come in a safe setting and remember the contributions that Michael made to our communities.”
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