FRANKLIN COUNTY, Pa. - In their final goodbye to 7-year-old Billy Travis, the Franklin County community pulled out all the stops, Monday afternoon.
"There was actually wide support. I mean there were people standing along the roads watching us go by, and I mean people actually got out of the way for us," said Lt. Chuck Holmes with the Marion Fire Department in Chambersburg.
Billy won the hearts of his community after suffering a severe brain injury at the hands of his then step-mother, Michelle Hunter, who is now serving prison time for the abuse.
His injuries caused him pain for the rest of his young life and his adoptive family says he suffered everyday. While they will miss him, they are happy he is no longer hurting.
"He is now free from the captivity of the body he had and he can be free," said Kim Travis, Billy's adoptive mother.
"While there was pain and there was sadness, there was such a relief of knowing that he's not in pain anymore," said Rachel Travis, Billy's adoptive sister.
Although he was only here for seven years, Billy made a lasting impact on this community. He was given hero's honors as the Marion Fire Department brought him to his final resting place in Greencastle.
"It was very easy for us to say yes. I mean Marion is a very tight-knit community and that's where [Billy] is from so you know it was very easy for us. We've had numerous experiences with him because of his medical conditions and just to see him go is sad...someone that's 7 years old to lose his life," said Holmes.
It was a day about honoring a child, who's short life, despite the pain, was filled with so much love. A day that was not about leaving him behind, but an opportunity to set him free.
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