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Local Marine injured in training accident is remembered by former colleagues

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FREMONT, N.C. -

Former co-workers are sharing their memories of a local Marine fighting for his life after this week's deadly military training accident in Nevada.

Ian McClanahan grew up in Fremont, a small town in Wayne County.

Before joining the military, he was an integral part of the local volunteer fire department, where former colleagues remember him as someone who would do anything to help his fellow man.

The Fremont Volunteer Fire Department was McClanahan's home and his enthusiasm is well remembered.

"When he was 17 or 18 he got on as a junior member and he was very gung-ho," recalled former Chief Danny Tillman of the Fremont VFD.

"He'd stay at the fire department a whole lot; he was very involved in the fire department," Tillman said.

But even while he was doing the volunteer fire job, he always idolized the military.

"He kept talking about it when we'd go on fire calls," said Tillman. ‘'Once, he asked me my opinion. I told him if it's what you desire in life -- go for it; if it's your dream, pursue it."

The former chief also recalled how McClanahan's love of medical aid pushed the fire department to update its first response capacity.

"In our fire department, we really don't do the medical part," said Tillman. "But he tried to implement things into the fire side for us. Right now, we carry a medical bag he wanted to see in a fire truck."

McClanahan took that love of medical aid with him into the service and became a Navy medic, a job he knew could put him in dangerous situations.

"In the fire service, we're the ones who run into the building while everyone else runs out and it's the same in the military; they go into harms way all the time," Tillman said.

Although he's been gone from the Fremont Volunteer Fire Department for several years, those who work with him are praying for a full recovery, after receiving the shocking news of the accident.

"I can't wait to speak with him again," said Tillman who is confident McClanahan will pull through this ordeal.

Steve Sbraccia

Steve is an award-winning reporter for WNCN and former assistant professor. A seasoned professional, Steve is proud to call the Triangle home since 2005 after over two decades in Boston, Mass.  More>>

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