MOREHEAD CITY — The firefighting community, friends and family gathered Sunday to celebrate a life of public service and remember longtime Atlantic Beach Fire Chief Adam Snyder.
Fire department personnel from across the state were among those who attended Sunday afternoon’s memorial service held at the Crystal Coast Civic Center in Morehead City.
Snyder, 46, who served 20 years with Atlantic Beach Fire Department and 15 years as the department’s chief, died March 11 from injuries sustained in a snow skiing accident in Virginia.
Snyder’s career in public service in North Carolina spanned 22 years.
He was initially hired as a paramedic with Onslow County EMS in 1997 and also worked as a lifeguard with the Town of Atlantic Beach. He was hired full time as a firefighter/EMT for the Atlantic Beach Fire Department in 1999 and worked his way up the ranks to chief of fire/EMS services for the town, a position he held for 15 years.
Approximately 800 people gathered at the civic center to honor Snyder’s service and others watched off site as the ceremony was live-streamed for those who could not attend in person.
An American flag flew from the ladders of Atlantic Beach and Morehead City fire trucks and firefighters in dress uniform filed into the civic center and filled more than half the room.
Among those attending were several members of the Piney Green Volunteer Fire Department in Onslow County.
“He was a good firefighter, hard-working and down-to-earth,” said Piney Green VFD Chief Tim Bruns.
Bruns said he first met Snyder in 2013 when he was teaching a rescue class.
Snyder’s ability to teach and share his experience with others is one of the things Bruns said he’ll most remember about him.
“He had a great personality and a real talent for bringing the best out of them,” Bruns said. “He would challenge them and also help build their confidence.”
During the service, Atlantic Beach Mayor Trace Cooper said Snyder lived a life of service to others and encouraged others to follow his lead and live a life of service as well.
“Adam’s life taught us how to serve,” Cooper said.
According to the biographical information, Snyder was driven to help those in need in the community and dedicated to his profession.
Despite his administrative duties as chief, Snyder was known for “leading from the front,” and according to his biographical information Snyder was active in training of firefighters and EMTs and the Atlantic Beach Fire Department was part of many “firsts” in Carteret County.
Under his leadership, ABFD was the first medium duty rescue company in the county as well as the first state-certified ocean/surf rescue agency, first certified confined rescue agency and first state certified high angle rescue agency. ABFD also had the first Pipes & Drums.
ABFD also created the first Technical Rescue Deep-water dive team in the state and implemented the Atlantic Beach Junior Lifeguard Program.
Fire honors during the ceremony included a presentation of helmets to Snyder’s sons, Justin Snyder and John Michael McGinty and his brother, Scott Snyder; ringing of the bell, and playing of Amazing Grace by Massed Pipe Bands of Eastern NC.
His brother also spoke during the service and recalled his brother’s ability to see the best in everyone.
“He saw the potential in everybody even if they didn’t see it in themselves,” Scott Snyder said.
Snyder also served in the Marine Corps and the service included military honors.
Snyder is survived by his wife, Stacie; his parents, Al and Karen Snyder; his sister, Chrissy Boehm, and his brother and two sons.
The firefighting community has also stepped up to assist Atlantic Beach Department and Snyder’s family, and local departments were among those to provide assistance to make sure calls were covered at various fire districts as the community came together for the memorial service.
“We have two departments providing assistance,” said Onslow County Fire Marshal Brian Kelly. “Rhodestown and Back Swamp have provided engines and personnel. Hubert and Holly Ridge offered but were not needed due to the overwhelming support of departments in the east.”
Reporter Jannette Pippin can be reached at 910-382-2557 or Jannette.Pippin@JDNews.com.