Family mourns death of Guardsman trying to rescue flood victim

Sgt. Eddison Hermond spent the final moments of his life trying to rescue a woman from raging floodwaters.Two ...

Posted: May 30, 2018 3:58 PM
Updated: May 30, 2018 3:58 PM

Sgt. Eddison Hermond spent the final moments of his life trying to rescue a woman from raging floodwaters.

Two days after he disappeared underwater, authorities found his body in a river near Ellicott City, Maryland.

"We are overcome with grief, but we are also comforted by his courage, his strength, and his selflessness to help someone else in a deadly storm," his family said in a statement.

"This is a very trying time for the Hermond, Cooper and extended family, but the thoughtful gestures of so many have given us strength."

The Army National Guardsman's family thanked the many people who helped in the search, including the National Guard and "and all the wonderful people we met that did not know him who searched for him. We thank God for you!"

Col. Charles Kohler from the Maryland Army National Guard released the family's statement Tuesday night. He asked the media and public to "please respect their request for privacy at this most difficult time."

Guardsman left a party to help

Hermond, 39, was enjoying a birthday party at a Mexican restaurant when flash flooding swept through downtown Ellicott City, said Sarah Lopez, whose husband had served with Hermond in the Air Force.

All three were at the party when Hermond noticed a woman trapped by the floodwaters nearby. He bolted from the restaurant to try to save her.

According to a police report, witnesses reported that "Hermond was attempting to help a woman who had escaped through a window with her cat, when he became swept up in the rushing water."

Howard County Police Chief Gary Gardner said witnesses "saw him go under the water and not surface."

A legacy of service

Hermond joined the Air Force in 1996 and served 10 years as an airman, Col. Kohler said. The Maryland native joined the Army National Guard in 2009.

Gov. Larry Hogan ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in Hermond's honor. "His service to our country, state and local community will not soon be forgotten," Hogan said. "Flags will return to full staff sunset of the day he is laid to rest."

While loved ones and strangers mourn Hermond's death, Ellicott City is slowly trying to recover from the mammoth flooding. The town, which was also inundated in 2016, was engulfed again Sunday when heavy rain bloated the Patapsco River to a record level.

2016 was bad; latest flooding 'even worse'

"There are a lot of people whose lives are going to be devastated again, and they've been working so hard to come back," Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said. "I can't imagine what they're going through. I couldn't imagine what they went through two years ago, and now it's even worse."

Emergency responders conducted 300 rescues, about 30 of them water rescues. A major water main broke, and the flooding washed out a sewer line.

Residents and business owners have been allowed to return to the hardest-hit areas to collect their personal belongings, but it's unclear how many will try to rebuild there.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 43793

Reported Deaths: 673
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Multnomah9502166
Marion6024109
Washington599178
Umatilla343545
Clackamas326766
Lane246727
Malheur194938
Jackson17967
Deschutes118513
Yamhill101315
Linn84515
Polk66815
Jefferson60710
Morrow5517
Lincoln51813
Union4842
Benton4636
Klamath4223
Douglas3688
Wasco34916
Hood River2841
Columbia2711
Josephine2703
Coos2601
Clatsop2480
Baker1403
Crook1132
Tillamook740
Curry581
Wallowa492
Lake430
Harney350
Sherman200
Grant120
Gilliam110
Wheeler10
Unassigned00
Eugene
Overcast
40° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 38°
Feels Like: 36°
Corvallis
Overcast
44° wxIcon
Hi: 59° Lo: 36°
Feels Like: 42°
Roseburg
Clear
40° wxIcon
Hi: 64° Lo: 45°
Feels Like: 40°
North Bend
Overcast
48° wxIcon
Hi: 58° Lo: 44°
Feels Like: 45°
KEZI Radar
KEZI Temperatures
KEZI Planner

LATEST FORECAST

Community Events