Now, their widows are making sure the community never forgets their giving spirit. They are organizing an event that will help other families of fallen first responders.
When Raleigh Fire Capt. Scott Nipper was killed in a car accident last December, Melissa Johnson shared in the family's heartache. She lost her husband, Fire Capt. Andrew Johnson, in an accident too.
"When the accident happened, I was shocked," said Johnson. "When I got to the hospital and he was in the intensive care for a couple of days, the fallen firefighters from the Raleigh Fire Department were there for me more than anyone else and I couldn't have imagined a support system like that."
Jill Kissinger-Hawks got that same support when her husband, Raleigh firefighter Flip Kissinger, died after he was hit by a school bus driving home from his shift. He was on his way to help his wife with their two little girls.
"People there were there to support us and offer anything whether it was time, money, keeping the kids, meals," said Kissinger-Hawks.
That's why the two widows are teaming up to host the second annual "Raleigh's Finest 5k" this Saturday morning. It benefits the North Carolina Fallen Firefighters foundation and the 200 Club of Wake County.
Both organizations offer immediate financial assistance to the families of fallen first responders.
The race will start at Fire Station Number 6, head down to Station Number 5 in Cameron Village, and end back at Fire Station Number 6, at the place where Flip Kissinger worked for three years.
"The girls thought it was amazing that it was about their dad," said Kissinger-Hawks. "At the time, my daughters were 9 and 3. So it's important to continue his legacy and to let them know how much he wanted to help other people and how important it was to do for others."
It's a giving spirit that Johnson says her husband also had.
"He was very into raising money and helping others for a cause like this," said Johnson.
It's a cause these women know sadly another family in the future will need.