Firefighters from all over the Upstate turned out Sunday for a “final call” for one of their own who was killed Thursday morning on his way to work.
Jordan Howard was remembered as a loving husband and father, a hard-working man who held three jobs to support his family, and a dedicated firefighter who lived to help others.
Howard, 30, of River Falls, was a lieutenant with the North Greenville Fire Department. He had worked there since 2007.
Authorities said he was struck on U.S. 25 by a Ford pickup driven by a man identified as John William Kennedy, 25, of Greer, who led deputies on a high-speed chase through northern Greenville County before he veered into the southbound lanes, striking Howard’s motorcycle head-on.
Never miss a local story.
At Marietta First Baptist Church, dozens of fire engines lined the roadway for the funeral service.
And inside the crowded sanctuary, firefighters filed solemnly past Howard’s flag-draped coffin, just feet from his grieving wife, Amber, and their 4-month-old daughter, Aubree.
A single red and white floral spray from the Fire Department stood nearby.
Scores of police officers also attended to pay their respects.
So many turned out to honor Howard that the service was live-streamed into the church gymnasium, where other mourners silently watched the proceedings on a large screen.
Eulogized as a devoted firefighter who was always ready to run calls, Howard was always thinking of others and touched countless lives as he served with pride, honor and dignity.
“Jordan wasn’t just a coworker. Jordan wasn’t just a friend. He was a brother,” said Justin Pritchett, a fellow North Greenville firefighter, choking back the tears.
“Jordan brought joy to our lives in the department,” he said.
Howard also lived life to the fullest, relishing a good joke, and spending time with his family, said the Rev. Hal Parris, pastor at Cleveland Baptist Church, which Howard attended.
As the service ended, a bell tolled three times in the firefighter tradition, signifying Howard’s “last call.”
“The toll of the bell, three rings for three times, has been used for more than 200 years to let everyone know that one of our own has paid the ultimate sacrifice,” said Scott Campbell, chaplain at the Duncan Chapel Fire Department. “Lieutenant, this is your last call.”
Bagpipes wailed the spiritual Going Home as Howard’s coffin was taken from the church.
And as the funeral procession made its way to the cemetery, people lined the sides of the road saluting and waving American flags.
In addition to his wife and daughter, Howard, a 2003 graduate of Travelers Rest High School, is survived by his parents, a sister, his maternal grandparents and paternal grandmother.
Memorials may be made to the Jordan Howard Memorial Fund at any branch of the Bank of Travelers Rest or the North Greenville Fire Department, 923 Tigerville Road, Travelers Rest, SC 29690.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Howard’s wife and daughter.