They came from everywhere, to pay their respects, share a hug or a tell a story about a man some knew well and most others had only been touched in some way by his life. “A lot of people have been saying they are going to miss him more than they would miss themselves,” says Joanne Paul as she wiped away tears.
Proud to be called a Rabun Volunteer Firefighter, Chris Black began with the department before he could drive and would often arrive at fires on a bicycle. “A lot of people made fun of him because he couldn’t talk plain but we just treated him like everybody else,” says pastor Randall Short. “He just loved it.”
Black made his mark as a firefighter, it was something he did for the majority of his life. But that’s not what he will be remembered for most.
“I’ve known Chris 17 years.” Pastor Short was a father figure. “He was a kind, giving person. He would give you the shirt off his back, literally. I’ve seen him do without food and give it to somebody else.”
As the community gathers to say goodbye, “these people around here are really going to miss him cause he was always there,” it will be the pastor that will deliver one last message for Chris. “This is going to be one of the hardest ones I’ve ever done and I’ve been pastoring 25 years. He’s just a good kid and I want to do my best for him.”
Friends say firefighting came first in Chris’s, next was his church. Funeral services will be held Thursday morning at 10 o’clock at the Lighthouse Tabernacle Church of God that sits right next to the Volunteer Fire Department in Rabun.