Fallen Firefighters 

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Bradford “Brad” Baity
Rodney Bradford Baity, 37, husband of Heather Sue Schaller Baity, entered into eternal rest on June 18, 2007. Funeral services were held at Charleston Baptist Church on June 23, followed by burial in Live Oak Memorial Gardens. He is survived by his wife and two children. Baity was a Marine Corps veteran and served the Charleston Fire Department for nine years. Memorials may be made to the MUSC Foundation, Children’s Burn Center, 18 Bee St., P. O. Box 250450, Charleston, SC 29425.

Brandon Thompson
Firefighter Brandon Kenyon Thompson, 27, fiancée of Rachel M. Sheridan, died Monday evening, June 18, 2007. His funeral was held Saturday evening, June 23 at Goose Creek’s Stratford High School Gymnasium, his alma mater. Thompson served the Summerville Fire Department for five years, as a captain with the Pine Ridge Fire Department for 11, and in Charleston at Station 10 for the past four. He was a member of the Firefighter’s Association. Memorials may be made to Pine Ridge Volunteer Fire Department, 565 Myers Road, Summerville, SC 29483.

James “Earl” Drayton
Firefighter James “Earl” Allen Drayton, 56, husband of Kimberly S. Drayton, died on June 18, 2007. He was the father of Shawntell Drayton, Jacqueline (Shawndell) Drayton Davis, Jeanette Drayton, Evelyn (Arthur) Grant-Mack and Arthur (Chante) Grant. A home going celebration was held June 23 at Joshua Baptist Church in North Charleston, followed by interment at Payne Memorial Cemetery on James Island. Drayton served in the Marines before joining the Charleston Fire Department in 1975. He was a family man who enjoyed fishing, crabbing, and cooking soul food.

Louis Mulkey
Captain Louis Mark Mulkey, 34, husband of Lauren Bennett Mulkey died Monday, June 18, 2007. A memorial service was held Saturday evening, June 23 at Summerville High School Stadium, where he served as a coach and mentor to countless student athletes. Mulkey gave 12 years of service to the fire department. Donations may be made to the Coach Mulkey Scholarship Fund at any Wachovia Bank location.

Mark Kelsey
Engineer Mark Kelsey, 40, passed away on June 18, 2007. Funeral services were held June 26 at Washington High School, his alma mater in Davies County, Ind. Mulkey is survived by his son, Paul Anthony Kelsey, and companion, Christina Prevatte. Kelsey served with both the Ashley River Fire Department (as a captain) and in Charleston for almost 13 years. He served in the Navy for 12 years and was an avid motorcycle enthusiast.

Melvin Champaign
Firefighter Melvin Champaign entered into eternal rest on June 18, 2007. A home going service was held June 25 at Emmanuel Baptist Church on James Island, followed by burial at Stem Point Cemetery. Champaign was the beloved father of Evieon Champaign, Isaiah Champaign, and Ruben Charity. He served in the U.S. Army for eight years and was a youth and music minister at James Island United Congregational Church.

Michael French
Asst. Engineer Michael “Frenchie” French, 27, husband of Donna Windham French, died June 18, 2007. Funeral services were held June 24 in the Berkeley High School Gymnasium, Moncks Corner, followed by interment in Berkeley Memorial Gardens. He is the father of Kyla Ann Nichole French and Aiden Michael Jennings French. French began his firefighting career at 16, serving the Eadytown Volunteer Fire Department. At the time of his death, he served as captain of the Pine Ridge Fire Department. Memorials may be made to the Mikey and Brandon Safety Fund, C/O Pine Ridge Fire Dept., 565 Myers Rd., Summerville, SC 29483.

Mike Benke
Captain Theodore Michael Benke, 49, husband of Kim Cofield Benke, entered into eternal rest on June 18, 2007. Funeral services were held at Palmetto Community Church on June 23, followed by interment at Live Oak Memorial Gardens. Benke is the father of Hunter Michael Benke, Taylor Michelle Benke, and Holly Benke Gildea. He served the Charleston Fire Department for 29 years and was a member of Palmetto Community Church. Memorials may be made to Palmetto Community Church, Vision Fund, 1965 Bees Ferry Road, Charleston, SC 29414.

William “Billy” Hutchinson III
Captain William H. “Billy” Hutchinson III, 48, husband of Phyllis Sartre Hutchinson, passed away on June 18, 2007. Funeral services were held at Pinecrest Baptist Church on June 22 followed by burial in Live Oak Memorial Gardens. He is the father of Christina Hutchinson Hughes, Aubree Leigh Hutchinson, and Haley Austin Hutchinson. He was a member of Pinecrest Baptist Church, an avid golfer, and a Mason with Hammerton Lodge 332 A.F.M. He was a 30 year veteran of the Charleston Fire Department and a barber for 29 years at Williams Barber Shop in Goose Creek. Memorials may be made to Pinecrest Baptist Church, 1285 Ashley Hall Road or MUSC Children’s Hospital, P. O. Box 250329


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