UNC-Charlotte Scholarship Created in Honor of Fallen Firefighter

CHARLOTTE—A fallen firefighter's legacy continues to live on through a UNC-Charlotte scholarship program. Joshua Earley was only 23-years-old when he died while putting out a fire in East Mecklenburg County.

Margaret Earley said she still remembers the day, March 6 2002, when she lost her son.

“I'll never get over it. Never,” she said.

Joshua Earley was only 23-years-old when he died while putting out a fire in East Mecklenburg County.

For the last 12 years, Charlotte-area firefighters and the Earley family have been honoring Josh and his passion for firefighting through a golf tournament, raising money for a scholarship program at UNC Charlotte. The money goes to a student who's studying fire safety engineering technology.

“It was a girl who got the first scholarship. We presented it to her at the North Carolina Firemen's Convention, and then when she graduated, she went to work in the City of Winston Salem as an inspector,” said Margaret Earley.

Capt. Tripp Fincher from the Charlotte Fire Department has helped to organize the tournament. 

“Any time we get a chance to get together, especially for a good cause and raise money for the scholarship program, it strengthens our bond with each other and everyone,” said Capt. Fincher.

Josh Earley’s family, friends and fellow firefighters all plan to keep his memory alive for many more years to come.

“As long as I'm here, and now we got a lot of younger people involved. I don't ever see Josh's legacy going away. I see us graduating people 20 years from now,” said Capt. Fincher.

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