By Kimberly Eiten

ELLICOTT CITY, Md. (WJZ) — A veteran and National Guardsman was laid to rest Thursday after being swept away by the floodwaters in Ellicott City while trying to save a woman and her cat.

Staff Sergeant Eddie Hermond died while trying to save a stranger — a final act of heroism in what his family members and fellow soldiers say was a life full of serving others.

At the funeral for Hermond on Thursday, many people spoke about how Hermond was a hero, and about how he was brave and selfless.

Fellow soldiers said he died while answering a final call to serve.

Draped in the U.S. flag, the service marked a final goodbye for Hermond, who served in the Air Force for more than a decade with tours in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Surrounded by sadness and hundreds of soldiers inside The Church at Severn Run.

Every seat was full as political leaders, Army commanders, and family members described the 39-year-old who died in the Ellicott City flooding late last month.

“What he did on May 27th, actually makes the word hero seem inadequate,” Howard County Exectuive Allan Kittleman said.

As violent floodwaters rose, he rushed in to save a woman who was trapped, sacrificing his own life in the process.

“What type of man would find himself in raging waters for a stranger?” Hermond’s uncle, minister Gene Cooper, asked.

Sgt. Hermond was a son, brother and father.

He stood with the National Guard during the 2015 riots in Baltimore and joined search teams in Ellicott City after the 2016 floods.

His loved ones said he died as he lived, in service to others.

“We will not forget, nor will I allow my comrades to forget, that Staff Sergeant Eddison Alexander Hermond Jr. was a professional hero and leader. I love you, Eddie,” Cooper said.

Hermond received three awards, including the Soldier’s Medal, which is the highest honor for an act of valor outside of combat.

He will be buried at Maryland Veterans Cemetery in Crownsville.

scholarship fund has been set up in Hermond’s honor.

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