EASLEY—For a few brief moments early Friday afternoon, Easley’s Main Street was silenced.
A crowd of over 500 people gathered to witness the body of Sgt. 1st Class Brad Thomas arrive home in Easley after he was killed in a suicide bombing in Afghanistan last week.
Heavy hearts looked on, as the war suddenly gave a shocking reminder of its devastating effects.
“It was hard because it was emotional for us,” said Easley Fire Chief Butch Womack. “Especially when we dig deeper and find out that we know this one or we know that one. As things progress it just touches us a little bit more.”
Thomas left behind a wife and son, and Womack says he hopes the family knows how much the Easley Guardsman’s sacrifice meant to the community
“I think what will mean more to them, as time goes on and they look back on what happened and pictures that were taken, I think that’s when it’s going to really set in for (the family),” said Womack. “I feel like the emotions are running deep right now because of the loss.”
Womack says the outpouring of support was triggered by the caring nature of Easley residents.
“It’s just one big family,” said Womack. “That’s the way we look at it. Anytime we have a disaster in town people always come out to support in whatever way they can.”
As several people left wiping the tears from their eyes, Womack says it’s just part of the culture in Easley.
“As the days and hours went on we found out that we knew somebody that knew somebody,” said Womack. “That made us a little bit closer to the family. I hope they know that we are here for them today, tomorrow and the next day.
Funeral services are planned for 2 .m. on Sunday afternoon at Rock Springs Baptist Church in Easley.
“We want to do what we can to comfort the family,” said Rock Springs Pastor David Gallamore. “We also want to challenge the people that will be here to remember the sacrifice that he gave for our freedom and for this county. We’re proud to be a part of it.”