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Delray Beach‘s Anchor Park was packed with firefighters, their families and other community supporters May 6 for the fifth annual Firefighter Eric Patrie 5K, in honor of the Delray Beach firefighter who lost his battle to brain cancer in 2012 at age 37.
Participants ran and walked along State Road A1A in Delray Beach. The Delray Beach Firefighters and Paramedics Benevolent Fund organized the event to help Patrie’s family with the financial burden caused by his illness. In 2016, a portion of the proceeds was donated to two local firefighters battling cancer. This year, proceeds will continue to go toward local firefighters coping with cancer.
Some firefighters ran it wearing their full fire-fighting gear, toting American flags, while others donned traditional workout clothes. Retired Palm Beach County Fire Rescue firefighter John Fischer played “Amazing Grace” on bagpipes as racers made their way toward the finish line.
“I worked with Eric from the time he got hired. He was an amazing guy,” said Delray Beach Fire Rescue Capt. Mark Siciliano. “This is a great memorial for him and his family. There are many hardships you see as a first responder. People are calling you when they’re having a problem and the best part of it is helping people with their problems.”
Siciliano and fellow Delray Beach Fire Rescue personnel lined A1A to encourage the participants and keep the road safe during the event.
Delray Beach father Jason Mumford stood on the sidelines to cheer on his daughters Nicole and Hannah Mumford, who were running the race.
“I’m very proud of my kids,” he said. “They go to gymnastics with Eric’s daughter. They wanted to be here to support their friend and I am here to support all of these wonderful people.”
Twenty-one-year Army veteran Susan Abella ran the race with her son William Abella, an Army Reservist, because the cause was close to their hearts.
“My husband died of brain cancer this past summer and we just had to do this as a family to honor this firefighter and his family,” she said. “This was also a really fun race to run. The route was beautiful. People who didn’t come really missed out.”
Delray Beach firefighters Brittney Hoag and Paul Britt were the fastest female and male participants, running in their full gear in the race. Firefighters from Miami-Dade, Broward and Palm Beach counties also participated in the event.
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