SEVERN, Md. — A Maryland National Guardsman who died while trying to help a woman during a flash flood was remembered Thursday as the "epitome of a citizen-soldier" and "a very special part" of the community.
Hundreds of mourners, including Maryland's governor and many service members, packed into a church in Severn for the funeral for Staff Sgt. Eddison Hermond.
Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan said Hermond didn't have to help a stranger.
"But Eddie did the same thing he had been doing for most of his life," Hogan said. "He did what had become second nature to him, serving others in need without hesitation and with no regard to his own safety."
Hermond, who was a U.S. Air Force veteran, was at a restaurant May 27 in Ellicott City when floodwaters ripped through the flood-prone downtown.
Hermond, 39, was in a safe location. But he and some others went to help a woman who was rescuing her pet. During their efforts, Hermond disappeared under the water. His body was found two days later.
For many, Hermond was considered just a "regular guy."
"But, folks, his actions that night far exceeded those of a regular guy," Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman said. "Those who knew Eddie best said they weren't surprised by how he rushed to help. One friend described his actions as 'the most Eddie thing ever.'"
Gene Cooper, Hermond's uncle, said during his eulogy that Hermond's heroic actions may have been expected given his service. But Cooper said the "one who would do this is more than a service member. He's more than a person who serves. This man is a person who loves."