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Here are a few things Justin Monroe’s parents, Eddie and Lisa, share about their son:
– He liked to heat up his Cheerwine soft drink, like a cup of coffee, and he usually added a couple of packets of artificial sweetener.
– If he ever had an open Friday night, he and his friends often took off for Concord Mills to hang out at the Bass Pro Shops.
– Justin was just beginning to learn the art of taxidermy. A couple of his ducks hang on the wall of the Monroes’ handsome log cabin home.
– A progression of family pictures show Justin, from an early age, kissing fish he had caught, skinning rabbits or posing beside a buck. Lisa took photographs of Justin with the ducks he recently brought back from a coastal hunting trip.
– The magazine, “Wildlife in North Carolina,” twice featured pictures of Justin as a young hunter. Once, his silhouette was on the magazine’s cover.
– He had a chocolate Labrador named Blaze.
– He was taking his community college fire science classes online.
– Between his two part-time firefighting jobs, Justin managed to work all the time. Eddie found some recent pay stubs and noticed that his son had worked 90 hours during one of the weeks before the fire.
– Over last Christmas, filling in for full-time firefighters who wanted time with their families, Justin worked 36 straight hours. “He was just as happy as he could be,” Lisa says.
– Justin had his mind set on becoming a full-time Salisbury firefighter and never thought about th possibility of working elsewhere. Not long ago, Lisa Monroe told Justin he might want to attend a Rowan-Cabarrus Community College job fair, where Kannapolis and Concord fire departments would be represented.
“He said, ‘For what?’ ” Lisa recalls.
– Justin was bashful around girls.
– He wasn’t too mechanical. His parents say outside the fire department he was famously unorganized, and they were always after him to “keep up with his belongings.”
– Sometimes he would leave the house at 4 a.m. to go duck hunting before his 9 a.m. shift started at the Spencer Fire Department.
“I honestly don’t know how he functioned sometimes,” Lisa says. “Just because he was young, I guess he could do it.”
ó Mark Wineka

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