Brevard community rallies behind missing firefighters' families, search efforts

BBQ fundraiser Friday in Melbourne to support families of missing men


BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – Residents in Brevard County continue to rally behind the families of the missing firefighters while the search continues. A Titusville pilot plans to continue searching for the pair and a fundraiser is planned Friday to support the missing boaters' families.

Brian McCluney and Justin Walker were last seen Friday while leaving Port Canaveral on a fishing trip in a 24-foot boat. Wednesday marks the sixth day of search efforts from Brevard along the Georgia and South Carolina coasts.

The U.S. Coast Guard and volunteers have searched tens of thousands of square miles of the Atlantic Ocean for McCluney and Walker. Customs and Board Patrol and Navy aircraft and three cutters were also assisting in the search.

McCluney, 38, a Jacksonville firefighter, is a Merritt Island High School graduate and Navy veteran. His family still lives in the Cocoa area. Walker, 33, originally of Vero Beach, was visiting from Fairfax County, Virginia, where he is a firefighter, when the friends went missing.

Titusville pilot Joe Hurston, of Air Mobile Ministries, told News 6 he plans to fly Thursday on another search flight with Walker's wife, Natasha Walker. He and Natasha Walker also left from Titusville Tuesday morning to look for her husband and his friend.

Volunteers with boats that can go 60 miles offshore are being asked to leave out of Mayport, Brunswick and Savannah on Wednesday, as the search area expands north.

The cost of the massive search effort is extremely high, Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Chief Keith Powers said Tuesday. Anyone who can help is asked to donate at JFRD.com. 

A Sonny's BBQ at 150 Sheriff Drive in Melbourne will host a fundraiser Friday from 3 to 7 p.m. to support the firefighters' families.

Meals are $5, cash only, and 100% of the proceeds will go to the families, according to the event flyer.

Are there any other ways people are helping in the search or fundraising efforts? Let us know by emailing web@wkmg.com.

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