Families of missing firefighters asking for search volunteers, benefit planned for Saturday

Family not giving up on search for firefighters lost at sea

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — Volunteers aren't stopping their search for missing firefighters Brian McCluney and Justin Walker.

Pilots flew over the Carolinas Friday looking for any sign of them.

"We're still going. There's been absolutely no reason for us to stop this search until we get those boys home," Walker's uncle, Jim Futch, said. "We're still looking for our kids, we're still in this."

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McCluney's fire chief at Station 31 isn't giving up hope either.

"Pray, pray for that miracle. It's not impossible. It's happened in the past. One more won't hurt," Patrick Gouin said.

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He said Saturday will be especially hard at the station. McCluney was scheduled to report for duty.

"He was one of a kind. Everybody loved him, and you couldn't find one person on this job that would say a bad word about him," Gouin said. "By the time he left, you were always a better person after spending time with him."

As Walker's family is asking for more volunteer pilots and spotters to search north into Virginia, a restaurant in Jacksonville is hosting a Bring Them Home benefit.

James Willard of Willard's BBQ said he spent the last few days on the water searching.

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He says with the pair's lifesaving skills, he thinks it's too early to stop.

"I can't imagine what they're going through. We're going to help bring them home," he said.

He's inviting people to Station 32 on Lenox Avenue from 3 to 6 p.m. Saturday. He's selling chicken dinner plates for $20 and accepting donations.

All funds will go toward the search and the families.

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Gouin said support like Saturday's benefit has been helping firefighters get through the days, and McCluney's family is just as grateful.

"They're just a beautiful family," he said. "It's a bad deal. We're still hoping for the best."
Walker's uncle said they're working with Justin's motorcycle club to collect donations to fund the searches. That includes gas for planes.

JFRD said its still collecting donations on JFRD.com, all proceeds will go toward the firefighters' families.