July 28 marked the one year anniversary of the passing of Asheville Fire Department Captain Jeff Bowen, who lost his life in the line of duty while fighting a 2011 blaze at 445 Biltmore Avenue.
To mark the occasion and honor Capt. Bowen’s life and service, a memorial service was held at Asheville-Buncombe Community College. The ceremony was attended by fellow firefighters from multiple agencies, family, friends and City of Asheville employees who came to pay their respects.
The day before, on July 27, 30 firefighters rode into Asheville on bicycles marking the inaugural Carolina Brotherhood Ride to honor fallen firefighters throughout the state. The 400-mile, five day ride stretched from Wilmington to Asheville, and the firefighters ended their trek at the Biltmore Avenue stage of the Bele Chere festival to a welcoming crowd.
Proceeds from the ride’s sponsorships and donations will go to the widow and three children of Capt. Bowen.
“It was humbling to see the Carolina Brotherhood end their ride in Asheville to honor Capt. Bowen,” said AFD Chief Scott Burnette. “Their journey through the many communities in North Carolina showed the riders and the Asheville Fire Department the tremendous level of respect that our state has for Capt. Bowen. This was a fitting way to begin a tough weekend for our fire department.”
Participants in the Carolina Brotherhood Ride also attended Saturday’s memorial service.
“The Memorial Service on Saturday was also humbling, to see the community attend to pay their respects to Jeff,” Capt. Burnette said. “That the service was not only attended by fellow Public Safety workers, but by fellow City employees and the community as a whole, symbolizes the tremendous unity our community has.”