STANLY COUNTY, N.C. -- Time passes slowly in Stanly County but on Wednesday afternoon, time stood still as the body of 17-year-old volunteer firefighter Dakota Snavely was escorted from Raleigh to Albemarle.

“I really don’t know how to feel about it,” said David Love, who called Dakota his best friend.

Friends, family and complete strangers came to pay their respects.

“Life is short. You know everybody has to realize that it any given time, we can go,” said Vicki Smith, whose son volunteered with Dakota.

The teenager’s last call came Sunday evening after being dispatched to a water rescue, according to North Carolina Highway Patrol. A truck carrying chickens lost control and fatally struck Dakota’s car.

He died one week before his 18th birthday.

“He was just a kid. I mean he loved what he did and he died doing what he loved,” Vicki said.

David remembered Dakota as a dedicated friend who had plenty of personalities.

“He wanted to be just like his daddy, Jimmy, just like him,” David said.

Dakota and his father were both members of the East Side Volunteer Fire Department.

It was Dakota’s dream to be a firefighter, one that he got to live out.

“He loved it, it’s all he ever talked about,” David said.

According to the East Side Fire department’s Facebook page, the visitation is scheduled for Friday from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Hartsell funeral home in Albemarle.

The funeral service is Saturday, June 16 at 11 a.m. at Anderson Grove Baptist Church in Albemarle.

Fire Departments wishing to participate in the Funeral procession, are asked to enter Anderson Grove Church Road from the 24/27/73 side and have apparatus in place by 10:30 a.m.

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