He was a son, a brother, a husband, a father and a friend.
But to most of the people who stood outside Rock Springs Baptist Church or who lined the street along Earls Bridge Road, they only knew him as an American solider — a hero.
The funeral services for Sgt. 1st Class Brad Thomas, 30, of Easley were held on Sunday afternoon.
Thomas, along with 1st Lt. Ryan Rawls and Spc. John D. Meador II, both of Lexington, were killed June 20 when a suicide bomber attacked their patrol in Afghanistan. Five other South Carolina guardsmen were also injured in the blast.
As temperatures climbed to 104 degrees, people worked feverishly to make sure that those who were supporting Thomas' family outside the church were staying hydrated.
Tripp Cobb was driving past Rock Springs Baptist Church Sunday afternoon running errands, when he spotted the Patriot Guard Riders already starting to assemble in the parking lot of the church around 12:30 p.m.
His wife, Shannon, said when he arrived back home he told her and their two children, he wanted to get a cooler, ice and some water to help support the riders who were supporting a hometown hero.
"Tripp really wanted to do something to help these guys out," Shannon Cobb said. "My husband works with a man who rides with the honor guard, so he understands why they are here and what they are doing."
Shannon said she wasn't sure their children, George and Mack, understood exactly what they were going to do, even when they arrived at the church.
Tripp pulled a cooler behind him as George and Mack offered water to members of the Patriot Guard and to police officers standing outside the church.
Politely the two boys would ask, "Sir, would you like some water?" They would make their way down the sidewalk through the riders and over to members of the crowd standing outside of the church.
Across the street, Beverly Holden stood with friends holding signs, "We Love Our Hometown Hero."
Holden, whose husband served in the U.S. Marine Corps, said it is important to support our troops, a fallen soldier and their families.
Armed with water and fans with misting bottles attached, Holden and her friends grabbed one of the few shady spots near the church.
Holden said when she thinks about soldiers like Thomas, it's hard to worry about a little heat.
"They serve in countries with 120 degree weather, carrying heavy equipment on their backs and wearing a uniform that's not lightweight," Holden said. "Standing out here to honor him is nothing in comparison to that."
Holden said this is the second soldier's funeral she has attended with her daughter, Madison Whitmire. Holden said she wants her to see that "Freedom comes with a big sacrifice."
Holden said she thinks it helps children to see and to learn respect for our troops and for the country they fight so tirelessly to protect.
Holden said she attended the service of PFC Justin Whitmire in January, helping to form a human shield around the church where his funeral was held, after it was learned that Westboro Baptist Church, a hate group known to protest the funerals of American soldiers, might picket.
Holden said when she learned from a friend Westboro might picket Thomas' services in Easley, she gathered friends and made signs to support his family. She said even without the threat of Westboro Baptist Church attending, she would still have stood to honor Thomas.
Outside the church, someone said protestors were gathered across the street, but none were to be found.
If Westboro was there, they watched quielty from afar as Easley mourned the loss of a hero.
Inside Rock Springs Baptist Church, police stayed in constant communication, determined to protect the family from any possible protest.
A phrase that was heard throughout the afternoon at both Rock Springs and Nine Forks Baptist Church from people holding signs and carrying flags was, "I just had to do something."
One woman said she hadn't planned to come to the funeral until an hour before she arrived, when she grabbed the flag outside her house and drove to the church.
At Nine Forks Baptist Church, it was a busy scene as people prepared for the arrivial of the Patriot Guard Riders and the funeral procession.
As the temperatures remained in the triple digits, those gathered in the parking lot of the church and at the graveside wore solemn faces, sweaty faces or smiling faces — but there were no complaining faces.
Guardsmen who were part of the funeral detail, which including a 21-gun salute, said they were happy to be a part of the ceremony, happy to honor one of their own who had made the ultimate sacrifice.
The American Red Cross and Pickens County EMS were both on hand to help people deal with the heat. Both of those agencies, along with the Patriot Guard Riders themselves, handed out water to help people stay cool.
The crowd at the church began arriving before 3 p.m. and grew throughout the afternoon.
Many people held up signs reading "GOD BLESS YOU," "WE LOVE YOU" and "PRAYING FOR YOU."
The Patriot Guard, upon hearing the caisson carrying Thomas' remains was one the way, lined its members up on both sides of the gravel drive. Each member carried a flag, at one point holding their flags close to the poles so the waving wouldn't startle the caisson's horses.
As the caisson came into view, hands came up in salutes or over hearts as the caisson passed, then Thomas' family arrived.
As the notes of "Taps" drifted across the air, thoughts of heat were forgotten temporarily, as a hometown hero was laid to rest.