Lt. Sam P. Dreher II is not alone. Charlotte County firefighters are taking turns standing guard over Dreher’s body. Charlotte County Fire/EMS spokeswoman Dee Hawkins said they will continue to stand beside Dreher until his burial Saturday.
Dreher, 39, was shot outside a Sarasota apartment Saturday by his estranged wife’s boyfriend, Michael Minor, 27, authorities have said. Dreher died from his injuries Sunday.
The 18-year veteran of Charlotte County Fire/EMS will be remembered at a visitation today from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Larry Taylor Funeral Home, 1515 Tamiami Trail, Punta Gorda.
A service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at the Charlotte Harbor Event & Conference Center in Punta Gorda. Burial will follow at Charlotte Memorial Gardens, where Dreher’s father is buried, said Taylor.
The Charlotte County Fire/EMS Honor Guard will be present at the service Saturday, along with honor guards from other agencies, Hawkins said.
The sudden, shocking death of Dreher — known as Sammy — has greatly affected his fellow firefighters and paramedics.
“We’re just taking care of each other, checking on each other,” Hawkins said.
Dreher’s Battalion Chief, Jon Miller, has “shown a tremendous amount of support,” Hawkins said, as have Battalion Chiefs Mark Crigler and James Stillwagon.
“Everybody’s suffering the loss,” Hawkins said. “Everyone’s feeling the pain.”
Critical incident stress management teams are working with crews at each of the fire stations across Charlotte County, Hawkins said.
“We’ll get through this as a group together,” Hawkins said. “Sammy was such a wonderful person.”
Dreher, a North Port resident and a graduate of Charlotte High School, worked as a firefighter and paramedic, in addition to serving on the Marine Operations Team. He also worked for the Punta Gorda Fire Department prior to Charlotte County Fire/EMS.
Memorial donations in Dreher’s honor can be made at any Sun Trust Bank to Firefighters for Kids of Charlotte County.