PINEVILLE, N.C. -- A Pineville bridge has a new name.
The Richard Sheltra Bridge was dedicated Wednesday to honor the life of a firefighter killed in the line of duty.
The North Carolina board of transportation renamed the bridge in Sheltra's honor.
"Naming the bridge and putting the sign up and doing all those things will allow Richards memory to live on outside of the Pineville Fire Department," said Pineville Fire Chief Michael Gerin.
Richard Sheltra was battling a fire at a golf store in April 2016 when he died of smoke inhalation, fighting a three-alarm fire sparked by lightning.
He was 20 years old when he died.
Dozens of people who knew him best watched as officials dedicated the bridge in Richard's name, with the hope that will remember his life of service.
"Richard was just beginning his adulthood, Richard's father Michael Sheltra said. “All the stars had come to a line for this young man.”
Sheltra just received rookie of the year and most training hours from the Pineville Volunteer Fire Department, a certificate as an EMT and had scheduled his final interview with Charlotte Fire.
"Which would have most likely led to an everlasting career in public service," Michael Sheltra said.
Richards name is also engraved in memorials in Raleigh at the Fallen Firefighter Memorial.
The National Fallen Firefighter Memorial in Maryland, and on the side of a firetruck, which bears his badge number.
“Pineville Fire Apparatus Number 73," Michael Sheltra said.
But now Richard's name has come home to Pineville and is permanently marking the side of a bridge.
“And he would’ve been so embarrassed to have his name up on Little Sugar Creek," Richard's mother Lenae Thomas Sheltra said.
Thousands of cars travel South Polk Street on a daily basis, which caused Richards father to say this.
“Its also our hope that everyone that travels across this bridge to take a moment to silently think and pray for a first responder whether it be for an EMT, police or fire.”
After the ceremony, Chief Michael Gerin added that when new firefighters come into the fire department, they’ll continue to explain Richards legacy and what he lived but also what he died for.