WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — Wrightsville Beach Park was a sea blue this Saturday.
Hundreds of fire fighters, ocean rescue members, family, and friends descended on Wrightsville Beach to celebrate the life of Jeremy Owens, a well-loved fire captain, lifeguard, stuntman, and mixed martial artist who passed away suddenly this week.’
The crowd laughed and cried as those who knew Owens best shared their favorite stories spanning his life. As his childhood friend recounted Owens first job as the Chuck E. Cheese mouse, his coworkers spoke his bravery on Ocean Rescue, and his loved ones quietly remembered the last phones he made alive.
Most speakers, like Ocean Rescue Director Dave Baker, used their eulogies to highlight the importance of mental health, especially for first responders:
“An oak tree has fallen. Mental health needs to be looked at in many ways. We see an individual wearing a cast, we know they went to the physician and they are healing and getting well. We need to talk about mental health just as openly.”
American flags waved throughout Wrightsville as the hundreds of men and women Jeremy Owen’s life touched listened mostly in silence, remembering, as Ocean Rescue rang one last bell for Owen’s final call.