Captain Bradley Steven Long, 28, of Sherrills Ford made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty on Monday, June 6, 2016, during a recovery diving mission.
His lifelong dream was to be a firefighter, following in his father’s footsteps. Bradley joined the department as a junior firefighter at age 14. Captain Long served as a captain at both the Newton Fire Department and Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire and Rescue. During this time he also served as a telecommunicator with Catawba County Communications 911 Center. As an active member of the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Community, Captain Long never met a stranger, met everyone with a smile, and was always willing to offer a helping hand to those in need. Whether he was educating a preschool class about fire safety, stopping to help a stranded motorist on the side of the road, or saving someone’s life, Captain Long continuously gave of himself to others while following his passion. When he was not in service to others, Captain Long enjoyed riding motorcycles, diving, hunting, woodturning, Legos, and farming.
Captain Long’s accomplishments are many, most recently being named Newton Elk’s Firefighter of the Year on April 30, 2016. In addition, he was named the Sherrills Ford-Terrell Fire & Rescue Member of the Year in 2007 and Officer of the Year in 2013. Captain Long was hired at the Newton Fire Department in June 2007 and promoted to full-time engineer in May 2011, then promoted to captain in August 2015.
Captain Long would, however, remind us that his greatest accomplishment was serving those in their time of need in his community.
Because of his servant’s heart and his sacrifice during service to others, Captain Long will forever be remembered as a true hero who answered his final call doing what he loved to do and knew that his fellow firefighters would be ready to “take it from here.”
Captain Long is survived by his father, mother, brother, sister, brother-in-law, nephew, and two nieces.
Bradley was a son, uncle, brother, friend, mentor, captain, cousin, nephew, and hero. We miss him extremely, but feel blessed to have had him with us for 28 years and know that because of his love and support for our family, we are stronger than ever. Bradley would want everyone to continue to put others first and to lend a helping hand whenever possible.