By Stacy Jacobson
RIDGEVILLE, S.C. (WCIV) -- Mike Broz dedicated his life to helping others and died doing what he loved. Broz's family and the community gathered to say goodbye Thursday.
Music was little comfort for Broz's widow, Dixie. But the support of the community, her husband's peer firefighters and so many more meant everything.
"Mike always said, 'We're a family.' And they are really a family. It is all coming together today," she said.
Crossed ladders, bagpipes and a helicopter flyover saluted Broz's more-than-30 years of service as a firefighter, fire marshal and health and safety inspector.
John Whetsell, the former chief for Dorchester Rural Fire Department, said Mike was always on the scene, directing traffic with a smile on his face and making sure people were safe. He said Broz couldn't be replaced.
"I don't think that position we could ever fill to compensate what he was and brought to us," Whetsell said.
He left his widow with his firefighting hat and a goodbye, that will give her lasting comfort.
"I did have the honor of him leaning down and kissing me and said he loved me. I told him I loved him back. It's very comforting," she said.
The funeral also included a dispatcher's radio call: "Firefighter Michael Broz has made his last call. May he rest in peace."
Gov. Nikki Haley ordered every flag to fly at half staff in Broz's honor.