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O.C. firefighters run in comrade's memory

January 31, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
About 2,600 runners are expected for Sunday's 13th annual Surf City USA Marathon in Huntington Beach. Among them will be firefighters from the Newport Beach Fire Department, who will be running in the memory of a fallen comrade.Captain Jeff Boyles and his fellow Newport Beach firefighters have been training for the hoping to honor former firefighter Kevin Pryor.

"When Kevin died he was 31-years-old, and that had an impact," said Capt. Boyles. "We're not immortal and life does pass you by pretty quickly if you don't stop and look around."

Pryor died after suffering a stroke last June, just one day after returning from fighting wildfires in Northern California.

"It was a real shock to us, a small fire department of just over 100 people. It was very sad and hard to cope with," said firefighter Ty Lunde.

"Our T-shirts that we wear have a shamrock on them because of his Irish lineage. He held a lot of pride in that," said Boyles.

Pryor was firefighter for nearly 10 years, and his friends say the 31-year-old was also an athlete who climbed Mount Whitney a year before his death. His coworkers say it's a reminder not to put things off.

"It caused us to take a look at our own lives as husbands, fathers, friends, family and firefighters," said Boyles. "He's inspired us to do the things that we want to do. Something as simple as a half marathon is a good way to demonstrate that, and let others know that his memory is still alive with us."


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