Firefighters salute fallen chief

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Wilson firefighters manned overpasses and saluted Tuesday as Atlantic Beach Fire Chief Adam Snyder’s remains were brought from the mountains of Virginia to the coast of North Carolina.

Snyder died Monday at University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville. Snyder had been involved in a skiing accident Sunday at the Wintergreen Resort near Roseland, Virginia.

The 47-year-old had been a member of the fire department in Atlantic Beach for 20 years and had been chief for 15 years.

Silver Lake Volunteer Fire Chief Phil Batts, who has been chief for 15 years, said it doesn’t matter what city, county or state a department is in, — firefighters are all part of a fraternity.

“It’s a brotherhood of being in the fire service,” Batts said. “We treat each other the same wherever we are. The only thing that changes is the name of the department.”

Silver Lake members were at the Hornes Church Road overpass at Interstate 95 as a procession led by the N.C. Highway Patrol escorted Snyder’s body through Wilson County on its way to the coast.

The firefighters posted on the bridge and stood at attention when the Snyder and his family came through.

“We wanted to show our honor to the family,” Batts said.

Chief William Skinner of the Black Creek Volunteer Fire Department said it’s almost like he and his crew lost a member of their own department.

Chief Jimmy Miller of the Rock Ridge Volunteer Fire Department said his department brought two trucks to be positioned at Exit 119 on I-95 with 10 members as Snyder’s body was driven through.

“I didn’t know him, but a couple of members who are in the department knew of him,” Miller said. “We have done this on some other occasions. It’s like a brotherhood.”

Other departments posting as the procession went by included the Contentnea Volunteer Fire Department and Wilson Fire/Rescue Services.