DREXEL, N.C. -- Dozens of firefighters from departments all over North Carolina came to Drexel First Baptist Church in Burke County Friday morning for the funeral of Triple Community volunteer firefighter Jason Hensley.

The 40-year-old died after being hit by a car as he was helping clean up debris from last Sunday's tornado.

Triple Community Fire Prevention Officer James Deal said the funeral marks the end of an overwhelming week.

"There's been a tremendous sense of relief knowing that this community stands behind us," Deal said. "These other fire departments stand behind us."

Firefighters from as far away as Mooresville, Gastonia and Durham came out to honor Hensley, who was remembered as a passionate, hard-working and reliable husband, father and firefighter.

"You called somebody at 3 o'clock in the morning, that person would always be Jason," Deal said.

Phyllis Huff stood across the street as the procession arrived at the church.

"He's out here protecting us and making sure we're okay, and then this happens," Huff said. "It's just really sad."

Deal said Hensley passed on his passion of firefighting to one of his sons, who's joined the department and is expected to become a firefighter like his father.