Dean was a respected 20-year veteran of the department and the Deputy Chief of Training and Operations. The 42-year-old died late Tuesday night after a month-long battle with COVID-19.
On Thursday, Dean's body was returned to Clayton from UNC Hospital in Chapel Hill as fire departments throughout the Triangle gathered along Interstate 40 to salute the caravan of emergency vehicles that escorted him home.
Dean had been hospitalized since August 18. In August, The Clayton Fire Department reported 17 firefighters tested positive for COVID-19.
At 11 a.m. Friday, the siren rang three consecutive times, ringing out for several miles in Clayton. The community also paused for a moment of silence in Dean's honor.
On Monday, a parade of fire trucks from all over the state will be part of a funeral procession prior to Dean's burial at Maplewood Cemetery in Clayton.
Dean is a Clayton High School grad and served three years in the U.S. Army before becoming a paramedic, then a firefighter. Dean is survived by his wife and two daughters, ages 13 and 7.
If you wish to help the Clayton fire department in light of this tragic loss, you may do so here.