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‘Exceptional’ Wilson firefighter remembered

Posted on January 6, 2022

Updated on January 9, 2022

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First responders escort a firetruck carrying the body of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes through the city on Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old Raleigh resident died at his home Saturday.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

First responders escort a firetruck carrying the body of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes through the city on Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old Raleigh resident died at his home Saturday.

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Capt. Josh Nichols, engineer Cody Walker and firefighter William Renfrow salute the casket of their colleague, 22-year-old Jameel Holmes, who died on Saturday. A memorial procession through the city on Wednesday honored the young first responder.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Capt. Josh Nichols, engineer Cody Walker and firefighter William Renfrow salute the casket of their colleague, 22-year-old Jameel Holmes, who died on Saturday. A memorial procession through the city on Wednesday honored the young first responder.

First responders escort a firetruck carrying the body of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes through the city on Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old Raleigh resident died at his home Saturday.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

First responders escort a firetruck carrying the body of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes through the city on Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old Raleigh resident died at his home Saturday.

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Capt. Josh Nichols, engineer Cody Walker and firefighter William Renfrow salute the casket of their colleague, 22-year-old Jameel Holmes, who died on Saturday. A memorial procession through the city on Wednesday honored the young first responder.

Brie Handgraaf | Times

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Capt. Josh Nichols, engineer Cody Walker and firefighter William Renfrow salute the casket of their colleague, 22-year-old Jameel Holmes, who died on Saturday. A memorial procession through the city on Wednesday honored the young first responder.

Wilson Fire/Rescue Services Capt. Josh Nichols, engineer Cody Walker and firefighter William Renfrow salute the casket of their colleague, 22-year-old Jameel Holmes, who died on Saturday. A memorial procession through the city on Wednesday honored the young first responder.
First responders escort a firetruck carrying the body of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes through the city on Wednesday afternoon. The 22-year-old Raleigh resident died at his home Saturday.

bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com | 252-265-7821

Holmes

Holmes

Family, friends and colleagues are mourning the loss of Wilson Fire/Rescue Services firefighter Jameel Holmes, who died Saturday.

“Losing a family member is never easy, and it takes family leaning on each other for strength to get through difficult times like this. Wilson Fire/Rescue Services just lost one of the finest people you will ever meet,” said Fire Chief Albert Alston. “I meet good people every day, but every once in a while, I meet exceptional people. Jameel was an exceptional person who unselfishly served our department for two years. The void Jameel leaves behind will never be filled.”

Holmes joined the department in October 2019. He wasn’t on duty when he died in his Raleigh home, and his cause of death hasn’t been released. He and his wife did not have children.

While the 22-year-old man had to work Christmas eve, he spent Christmas and the day after with his family, including his mother, Akisha Brown. She said Holmes was a mischievous child, but joined the Civil Air Patrol as a teen and turned his life around, soon realizing he wanted to join the military. He even talked his twin sister, Imani, into joining the N.C. Army National Guard together at 17.

The Morrisville-based 677th Engineer Detachment plans to posthumously promote Holmes to sergeant, according to his family.

Holmes became a firefighter in the military, but soon found his passion and pursued it full-time with Wilson Fire/Rescue Services.

“Not only the excitement of the work, but he enjoyed helping people when they were at their worst,” Brown said.

His service to the Wilson community was honored Wednesday as state and local officials escorted his body on a firetruck through the city and past the department headquarters and his assigned station, Fire Station 3, where personnel gave him a final salute before Holmes arrived at Stevens Funeral Home.

A private viewing is planned for family. A celebration of life ceremony will be held at 1 p.m. Jan. 16 at the J.D. Fuller Senior Recreational Center in Fayetteville.

“I don’t even know if amazing is the right word. It was overwhelming to see so many people come out for my baby,” Brown said. “Speaking with his coworkers and fellow firefighters, all the positive things they had to say about him made me so proud. It was painful, but it made me very proud at the same time.”

Brown said her son was known to be a jokester, so part of her hoped his passing was a prank. She said she appreciates everyone who who took time to honor Holmes’ memory.

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