Body found of Air Force veteran who disappeared amid Maryland flooding

Body found of Air Force veteran who disappeared amid Maryland flooding

Body found of Air Force veteran who disappeared amid Maryland flooding

Volunteers and crews with trained dogs had been methodically hunting for 39-year-old Eddison Hermond who disappeared Sunday afternoon, following torrential rains that prompted destructive flash flooding in historic Ellicott City for the second time in less than two years.

On Tuesday afternoon, his body was located in the Patapsco River. He was the only person reported missing in Ellicott City — established in 1772 as a mill town surrounded by hills — where many now can’t get the roar of rushing floodwaters out of their heads.

Eddison Alexander Hermond, an Air Force veteran and sergeant in the Maryland Army National Guard who police say went missing in the flooding in historic Ellicott City, Md. Police found Hermond’s body Tuesday, May 29.

“To have died to help somebody else is incredible. And I can’t even imagine the loss his family is suffering,” said Nicholas Johnson, owner of a store near the spot where Hermond vanished while trying to help a woman who had escaped through a window with her cat.

With waters receded, residents of the flood-prone Maryland town are facing another daunting comeback less than two years since another terrible flood deluged their beloved downtown, smashing inventory and ripping up floors and pavement.

 

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Body found of Air Force veteran who disappeared amid Maryland flooding

Some people in Ellicott City’s historic downtown say they are determined to rebuild after Sunday’s devastation. Their hope: to pull together as a community once again and live up the nickname “Ellicott City Strong,” which many locals are now repeating as a sort of mantra.

Simon Cortes, owner of La Palapa Grill & Cantina, said it’s “a horrible time,” and his business took on about a foot (30 centimeters) of water. But he notes the quaint old town has been through it all before, and he’ll do his part to spur another revival.

“I feel like it’s our duty to make sure that we rebuild and open back up,” said Cortes, whose restaurant Hermond was visiting before being swept away by Sunday’s raging floodwaters.

Others are stretched to the breaking point by the floods, which tore up streets and swept away dozens of cars in the quaint downtown of historic 18th and 19th century buildings, which sit in a ravine some 13 miles (20 kilometers) west of Baltimore.

Another massive cleanup, serious economic losses and a daunting comeback couldn’t come at a worse time. Sunday’s torrential rains came just as the commercial district seemed to come back stronger than ever from a dreadful July 2016 flash flood that killed two people.

Howard County Executive Allan Kittleman has told reporters his immediate priorities were finding Hermond and assessing the condition of damaged buildings that housed shops, restaurants and families. That assessment work continued Tuesday.

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