Upstate Firefighter Returns Home After Plane Crash - WSPA.com

Upstate Firefighter Returns Home After Plane Crash

Posted: Updated:
GREER, S.C. -

Patrick Schultz was flying a small plane on May 25th when it crashed in a field near Panama City, Florida. Three passengers, his mother, aunt and nephew, all died. Patrick was sent to the Augusta Burn Center in critical condition.

"It was devastating. We ended up talking with the family that afternoon and confirmed it," said Captain Brandon McNeill, Patrick's supervisor and close friend at the Pelham-Batesville fire department in Greer.

McNeill and several others have made several trips to visit Patrick.

They've also been selling t-shirts to help raise money for his medical bills. And they've received cards from the community, complete strangers, who wanted to show their support.

Then this week they learned that Patrick was finally coming home. And his first stop was his fire station.

After more than a dozen surgeries and two months away from his family patrick walked in to a hero's welcome. The show of support was overwhelming at first, as he hugged everyone in tears.

"I just, I just love my brothers and this is a special place to me," said Patrick. "I didn't expect this many people here."

And he's already making plans to come back.

"I love to dig down and help out my brothers and the only way I can help them out is to be here battling side by side with them," said Patrick. "That's where I want to be at. I'll get here as soon as I can."

Patrick says he and his family are grateful for the support they've received from the community.

"I'll never be able to thank everybody and give everybody a hug, send them a thank you card. I'll never be able to do that but I know there is a lot of people across the Upstate that have blessed me the last couple months and I want to say thank you," said Patrick.

Patrick's wife was also there with him. His two daughters were waiting for him at home.

And he was planning his second stop at the Cowpens Fire Department where he works as a volunteer firefighter.

Both Cowpens FD and Pelham-Batesville FD are raising funds to help Patrick's family with medical expenses.

You can buy a t-shirt or make a donation by contacting either one.

For Pelham-Batesville FD, call (864) 877-1247 or click here.

For Cowpens FD call (864) 463-6722 or click here.

 

Tracey Early
Tracey co-anchors the 5:30 and 7 p.m. newscasts and is a general assignment reporter.
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