“We watched our friend be pulled out of the water”: Coworkers remember man pulled from sunken car

We watched him literally be pulled out of the Cape Fear River and unbeknownst that it was him at the time
Updated: Aug. 31, 2020 at 9:16 PM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Over the past 15 years, The George on the Riverwalk has seen a lot—from hurricanes to floodwaters, but few days have had as big an impact as Friday.

Employees watched on as crews pulled a car from the Cape Fear River, not knowing their beloved coworker Frederick Brock, was one of two men found dead inside.

“We watched him literally be pulled out of the Cape Fear River and unbeknownst that it was him at the time,” said Aaron Rinere, a coworker of Brock. “Looking back—that we literally watched our friend be pulled out of the water—it’s heartbreaking.”

Rinere is the kitchen manager, a teammate who worked in the kitchen with Brock. He thought it was strange when his friend didn’t show up for work Friday, but his world was turned upside down when they learned he wouldn’t be coming back.

“You get that news and you just go blank,” said Rinere. “In the middle of cooking and we just lost one of our own. How do you...just gotta keep pushing forward.”

Brock worked at The George for about a year as a cook. His coworkers say he was a kind and funny person, always serving up playful energy along with great food.

“Our hearts are heavy for his family and friends.The love they had for him was unwavering.”

“He is and will always be an unforgettable part of The George family!”

“He wanted to see people smile, if you came in in a bad mood, he would just sit there and make jokes and pick at you until you smile.”

These are all statements made from teammates of Brock who raved about his shining personality.

While we may never know why or how Je’Mel Sneed and Brock ended up in the river, Rinere knows one thing for certain—things won’t be the same at The George.

“You look down at the station and its like ...that’s where Fred would be. And then it gets even tougher because you’re like, let me get out of the kitchen and separate myself and then you come out front and you look at the river and you go, that’s where Fred rested at. Not having that smile, that laughter, that light back in the kitchen, it’ll be tough.”

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