SHERRILLS FORD, NC (WBTV) - "If you call a first responder, they're going to come for you. Doesn't matter who you are. They're going to come for you."
Those are the sentiments of Amy Shearer, the older sister of firefighter Bradley Long.
Bradley died June 6th, 2016 when he and another firefighter rescue diver went into Lake Norman to recover a missing man.
What happened that day is still under investigation. His family doesn't want to talk specifics until the investigation is closed. But they do what you to take a moment to meet their son and brother and understand the critical role first responders play in our lives. They sat down exclusively with Anchor Molly Gr antham.
"He was living his dream to be a firefighter," Amy said. "He was doing what he wanted to do with his life."
Bradley never knew anything except public service. The Long family has given their lives to giving back.
Father Jerry Long was a firefighter for 25 years and rescue diver for 12. Bradley's older brother Chad was military, then a police officer and is now a Lincoln County Sheriff's deputy.
Sister Amy works in the medical field and mom Signora is a mail carrier.
So it really meant something to Amy when she pointed out how men and women in this field -- police, fire, medic, dispatchers -- work tough jobs for little pay and often get zero thanks.
"Bradley gave his life to serve others," she said. "He died doing what he loved."
Brother Chad agreed.
"Bradley was daddy's clone," he said. "They were like the same person. He followed in his footsteps."
Jerry says that's what makes it so hard now.
"The last six weeks have been difficult because I think, you know, I brought Bradley to this. I brought Bradley to what killed him."
What gets Jerry through is the support he says his family feels from "The Red Line"… how firefighters refer to their brotherhood.
"There hasn't been a day where one of the firemen hasn't called or texted me to say, 'Jerry, do you need anything?'" he said. "People don't realize that firefighters do much more than fight fires. They dive. Do car wrecks. Medical calls. High angle rescues. So much stuff people don't realize."
"Some of the best stories I've heard were in the receiving line," Chad said. "I don't know how many people said, 'You don't know me. I don't know you. But your brother saved my life.'"
The Sherrills Ford Fire Department is selling t-shirts to benefit the Captain Bradley Long Memorial Fund.
To see them or learn more information, go here » https://squareup.com/store/sherrills-ford-terrell-fire-and-rescue/
Also, the family wants you to know about a Poker Run fundraiser set for September 24th, at 10am. It starts at Newton Fire Department Headquarters, Station 1, 119 S. Brady Ave.
More details at https://www.facebook.com/hometownhawgs/