As monstrous floodwaters roared through Maryland’s Ellicott City on the eve of Memorial Day, Eddison Hermond, a 39-year-old Air Force veteran and member of the Army National Guard, was reportedly reveling in the festivities of a birthday party at one of the town’s restaurants.
But he dropped everything to save a woman trying to rescue her cat in the rapidly rising torrents of water, and that is the last his friends saw of him.
“Please please please, if you know where Eddison is, we are extremely worried,” Bonnie Hoppa, one of Hermond’s friends, posted on Facebook late Sunday. “The last witnesses to see him said he was being swept toward Patapsco River. Emergency crews are looking for him,” Hoppa wrote.
Hermond’s friends sent out distress calls over social media through the night, and by Monday, the search for him was in full swing.
“It’s Memorial Day, it’s my wedding anniversary. He was one of my groomsmen, this is very hard, very weird right now. Very surreal,” one of Hermond’s friends told local TV station WTOP.
Maryland authorities have reportedly made finding Hermond a top priority in the wake of flooding that Howard County Police have described as “devastating” and “traumatic.” A wall of water roared through the city’s central streets Sunday evening, in what Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan described as a “once-every-thousand-year flood.” Less than two years after the city was ravaged by similar flash floods, Sunday’s rampaging waters lifted cars away, damaged buildings, and flooding businesses and homes. Two people were reportedly killed and rescue crews scrambled to rescue at least 30 residents. Meteorologists said spots across the region saw between 5.36 inches and 10.38 inches of rain dumped within three hours Sunday.
“Praying for the brave veteran who has been reported missing following yesterday’s terrible flooding in Ellicott City. My heartfelt thanks to all those assisting in the search,” Hogan tweeted Monday.
As of Monday afternoon, volunteers and residents had joined in the search for Hermond, the only person reported missing after the floods.