PINEY FLATS, TN (WJHL)- People in Piney Flats are mourning the loss of a man known as a church deacon and a loving father.
Tuesday afternoon we confirmed the father who died while trying to save his daughters from a rip current along the North Carolina coast was 35-year-old Rick Brown.
Atlantic Beach Fire Officials said the incident happened Monday afternoon just before 1 p.m. off Shackleford Banks.
Officials said that’s where Brown drowned while trying to save his three girls who got caught up in a rip current on the West end of the island.
The girls were rescued by bystanders and a man in a nearby boat.
The man’s wife also attempted to assist with getting the three daughters and her husband back to shore. However, the father wasn’t able to make it back on his own.
A nearby boat with an off-duty paramedic help get Brown from the water and began CPR.
The father was in cardiac arrest when an Atlantic Beach police vessel arrived. An off-duty paramedic started CPR on the man, and crews continued lifesaving efforts on the way to Carteret Health Care, where he was pronounced dead.
Tuesday afternoon we met with friends of the Brown family like Becky Mason who said Rick was a devoted family man, and church member.
“Rick was a loving father, you could see that when he was with his children, loving husband, just a wonderful Christian man,” Mason said.
Brown is now also known as a man who would do anything to protect his children.
“To me that was just what a father does, your children are in danger, you go help them,” Mason said.
Mason said the Piney Flats community is now focused on helping the Browns cope in any way they can.
“I know our church family will definitely be stepping in and helping. Just the comfort of knowing we have a heavenly father that will comfort us, comfort them, give them the peace to help them through this time of grief,” Mason said.
Tuesday afternoon we also met with Dr. Dean Baird, who said he has known the Brown family for several years through their church.
“Loved his family, loved pretty much anybody he was around and was not afraid to be concerned about people’s problems, or about their faith because he was a committed Christian man,” Baird said.
Baird said Rick was loved in the community, and played an important role in so many lives.
“There is going to be a large void in our community, because of how he related to people and how important he was to the people he knew,” Baird said.
As of Tuesday night there was no word on if funeral arrangements had been announced for Rick Brown.
WNCT contributed to this report.