IRMO, S.C. — As the Irmo community continues to grieve the loss of James Muller, a national non-profit hosted a memorial run in his honor.
It's been a nightmare stretch of 14 days for the Irmo Fire District and Chief Michael Sonefeld. He says they're still processing the death of 25-year-old firefighter James Muller, who was lost on Friday May 26th. He says amongst a pile of paperwork, and tough conversations, his guys are getting back into the swing of the things.
"We got some of the guys back on the rig which is really important. I think they're getting back in their comfort zone, which is important. It's not anything that's going to take a couple of weeks or a couple of months, it's going to take a long time."
He was at the running4heros run on Friday. According to board member and former Lexington Sheriff deputy David Arnold, the organization aims to honor fallen first responders around the country by hosting a ceremonial 1 mile long run. He says the support in Irmo is like nowhere else in the country.
"The one thing about the Irmo community is it is a very tightknit community and people come and show support for their first responders and for each other."
That support was on display as 13-year-old Andrew Collinson began the run. He's an Atlanta-area native and volunteer runner with Running4Heros. He was accompanied by a red American flag, a picture of Muller and close to a dozen other runners, including some Irmo firefighters.
Chief Sonefeld says it shows just how big of an impact Muller's death has had on the community.
"They showed up. It involves the youth as well, which is huge. I think it's really important for them to understand the sacrifice that are made out there on behalf of the public"
The run lasted a little over 6 minutes and took 5 laps around the crossroads middle school parking lot, starting and ending with a speech about muller and a prayer.
Sonefeld says the goal of his men now is taking care of each other, and James Muller's family.
"We're all at our weakest right now and very vulnerable which is not a position we normally put ourselves in, we're quite the opposite. We're kinda in a mode right now that we care for our families, we care for j's family unbelievably we just want to do all the right things for them. It's the most important thing we're doing. He was here under our watch, and for now on, his family is our family and always will be."