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Searchers find body of National Guardsman who went missing in Maryland flood

Police Line Do Not Cross (Pixabay/geralt)
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On Friday morning, Sgt. Eddison A. Hermond, “Eddie,” to his friends, wrote what would be one of his last Facebook posts.

“Okay kiddos, it’s Friday and the start of Memorial Day weekend,” he began. “Let’s get the hate out of our hearts. Focus on the positives and let’s all, for once, enjoy life as it’s meant to be enjoyed. Whatever your pleasure is: whether it’s watching the Blue Angels fly over, drinking, bbq’ing, smoking crack, playing yahtzee, whatever … .just be happy. We’re free because people gave their lives for us to live this way. So … .stop being mad for one single weekend. PLEASE. In the words of my favorite poet Tom, from Parks&Rec “Treat yoself!” (to a negativity-free weekend).”

His friends loved it so much, one asked if he would make the post “public,” so that she could share it with her friends, too. Another friend commented to thank Hermond for his service.

“Wrong holiday,” he corrected her. Sure, he was a veteran and member of the Maryland National Guard, but Memorial Day was for fallen heroes, not him. Not yet.

Two days later, a massive flood hit historic Ellicott City. Local shop owner Kate Bowman was stranded. She told The Baltimore Sun that Hermond tried to rescue her.

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“I could barely see anything and I could barely hear anything” because the waters were so loud, the 41-year-old Bowman said through tears on Monday night. “He stepped over the ledge to try to get to me, and he was washed away.”

He was a hero, she said.

His body was found Tuesday in the Patapsco River, according to Howard County Police. He had drifted to Catonsville along River Road, about a quarter-mile from Frederick Road.

Maryland National Guard Col. Charles Kohler said Hermond joined the Maryland Army National Guard in 2009 and was assigned to Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1996 and served more than a decade on active duty.

Randy Marriner, who owns the Victoria Restaurant Group, said Hermond was one of the original employees of Victoria Gastro Pub when the Columbia restaurant opened 11 years ago. He said Hermond worked in his restaurants when he wasn’t on active duty, and worked his way up from server to bartender to manager.

Marriner’s group also includes Manor Hill Tavern in Ellicott City. Hermond was a manager at Manor Hill Tavern until last fall, Marriner said.

He said Hermond was “family.”

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“It’s just really, really sad and unnecessary,” Marriner said. “In the midst of panic and we make split-second decision that sometimes may not — while well-intended — may not have been the best decisions.”

Gathered with some of Hermond’s friends at Victoria Gastro Pub on Monday, Beth Czyryca said she knew Hermond for a decade.

“He’s the nicest person in the world,” she said. “He always has a great big smile on his face. …

“I’m not surprised that he would be acting as a hero and jump right in to help.”

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© 2018 The Baltimore Sun

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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