Ride honors volunteer firefighter killed in train crash

Family & friends honor late firefighter with memorial ride

CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Before he died, Richie Willis would oftentimes sleep in his truck while attending out-of-town firefighting and paramedic training classes.

"He was a big inspiration -- he always had a positive attitude," STAT Ambulance Service Operations Manager Steve Demby said.  "Everybody loved to be around him. He always had a desire to go to paramedic school, a drive to do more."

Now a scholarship bearing his name will support others, so they can pay for classes or hotel rooms while attending training out of town.

Willis, a volunteer firefighter with Grover Fire Department, was killed when his truck was hit by an oncoming train in St. George in January.  Now friends and family are coming together in remembrance through the 1st Annual Ride for Richie.  More than 70 people came to the fundraiser on Saturday, including his wife Brandi and their three children.

"It's extremely exciting and it's something that he would have wanted," Brandi said.

The group hopes to raise $5,000 through the ride for the scholarship, all in the name of Richie.

"Richie would go out of his way to help anybody," Willis' brother Ashton Bradham said.  "There wasn't much Richie wouldn't do for anybody."

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