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Officer Sacrificed Self to Save Daughter's Life

Officer Sacrificed Self to Save Daughter's Life

Bewildered residents survey the destruction after a tornado ripped through Pratt City, Alabama, just north of Birmingham [AP]

The Daily Mail via YellowBrix

April 28, 2011

BIRMINGHAM, MI – A police officer sacrificed his life to save his young daughter when a tornado ripped through their campsite in Mississippi, part of the terrifying band of storms devastating the South.

As violent winds tore through their tent, Louisiana police Lieutenant Wade Sharp, 40, flung himself on top of the sleeping nine-year-old to shield her.

Moments later a huge sweetgum tree crashed through the canvas, hitting the lieutenant on the back of the head and killing him instantly, but leaving his daughter unharmed.

It was the final act of heroism in a 19-year career with the force, in which he had been decorated several times for bravery, twice saving lives by endangering his own.

Covington Police Chief Richard Palmisano told the Times-Picayune: ‘He was a hero all the way through his whole career, and was a hero to the end.’

He said: ‘Everyone always wanted to work with him. He was a joy to be around. He was an excellent, fantastic officer, well-liked. I never heard anything against him.’

He was head of the criminal investigations division and had been given the Medal of Valor, the highest award Covington Police Department can bestow, for risking his life to save a man from a burning house, despite not having breathing apparatus.

Another colleague, Captain Jack West, called him ‘a hell of an investigator’.

Wade_max200w

Lieutenant Wade Sharp

Lieutenant Sharp and his daughter, who is believed to be eight or nine, were on vacation at the Jeff Busby Campground near the Natchez Trace, Mississippi, when the tornado hit.

They had set up camp with two other families and several travellers in campervans at the site, close to the second-highest point in Mississippi and filled with closely-packed trees.

He had posted photos of the site on his Facebook page, and told friends he was looking forward to spending time with his daughter, who loved to camp.

When the winds came as a band of tornadoes swept through the south, they were strong enough to fell the massive oaks which lead to the camping ground. It took officers several hours to hack through them to reach the site the next day.

Inside the ground, the violent winds uprooted smaller trees, ripped branches off others and flung debris at tents and mobile homes.

Article-1381530-0bcd934a00000578-465_634x402_max200w

An emergency worker combs through the wreckage of a house destroyed by a tornado in Smithville, Mississippi [AP]

Linda Arnerson, who was staying in a campervan near the Sharps, told the Times-Picayune: ‘It was terrifying. You couldn’t see anything, but you could hear everything coming down around you.’

The tree struck Lieutenant Sharp’s tent at around 6am, and a group of campers rushed to help.

They were able to rescue the little girl and take her to the camp host, but ‘there was nothing to be done’ for her heroic father.

The girl was visibly in shock, but was otherwise unharmed.

Lieutenant Sharp is survived by his wife, two daughters, and a son. His stepbrother, Stephen Culotta, is a sergeant with Covington police department. Both are considered to be its heroes.

The lieutenant won the Medal of Valor in 1997 for saving a man and his dog from a burning apartment, and almost ten years later he risked his life in a fire once again by smashing a window to rescue a man who was unconscious.

If he had gone in just seconds later, the man would have died.

Chief Palmisano told the Times-Picayune: ‘Right now I think the big thing is for everyone to keep in their hearts and their prayers the family, especially his children and his wife.’

Covington Mayor, Candace Watkins, said the whole town was reeling from news of his death. She described him as a ‘strong leader and a really good officer.’

She told the Times-Picayune: ’"It’s a huge loss for us,. He meant a lot to that department. He was extremely valuable to the department.’

’It’s really, really sad. This will not be an easy one to get over.’

At least 193 people have so far died as fierce storms obliterate large swathes of land from Mississippi to Georgia, wiping out homes and businesses.

Alabama has been worst hit, with the death toll there reaching 128. In the city of Tucscaloosa, at least 15 people were killed and about a 100 were in a single hospital.

Elsewhere, 11 people were killed in Mississippi, another 11 people were reported dead in Georgia and one person died each in Tennessee and Virginia.

In Mississippi, a man was crushed in his mobile home when a tree fell during the storm, a truck driver died after hitting a downed tree on a state highway and a member of a county road crew was killed when he was struck by a tree they were removing.

In eastern Tennessee, a woman was killed by falling trees in her trailer in Chattanooga.


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  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    Rest in Peace brother. You are a Hero and never forget.

  • Img_1347a_max50

    Halefo5

    about 3 years ago

    166 Comments

    Rest In Peace Lt. Sharp you have made the ultimate sacrifice for your daughter, may she realize she now has a guardian angle watching over her. May Yahweh guard and keep your sole.

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    Anonymous

    about 3 years ago

    You once took an hath that you would lay down your life for others. You have lived up to the highest standard of all, to show us the way. You are a Hero in every sort of the Word. Everyone will remember your unself love that gave your daughter. I will pray for you, your family, your daughter, and friends and co worker in the dept that you served so well. RIP my brother...

  • Untitledma28839986-0002_max50

    Irishcop1961

    about 3 years ago

    50280 Comments

    Rest in Peace Lt. Sharp. You are a hero.

  • Ba_old_glory_max50

    Jonas

    about 3 years ago

    42138 Comments

    Rest In Peace Lieutenant Sharp. You are a hero we will not forget. My prayers and sympathies.

  • Me_last_wk_max50

    delano388

    about 3 years ago

    4314 Comments

    RIP Lt Sharp. You are a true hero

  • C1__67__max50

    Redsky

    about 3 years ago

    2918 Comments

    RIP. Lt. Sharp you are a true hero indeed. My thoughts and prayers go out to your family, friends and department at this very sad time.

  • Esu_patch_max50

    esu

    about 3 years ago

    498 Comments

    RIP brother,,, my heartfelt condolences to both your families.

  • Img_2238_max50

    Lighthouse23

    about 3 years ago

    174 Comments

    Rest in Peace. Your daughter will go on thanks to you. May God be with your family and Department.

  • Thumbnailcam7bf5y_max50

    dozer73

    about 3 years ago

    34 Comments

    You are a Hero Sir from each and everyone of us. The action you did was couragous, selfless, brave and your service was will not be forgotten. God Bless You! RIP

  • Photo_user_blank_big

    GodblessTexas

    about 3 years ago

    156 Comments

    "GREATER LOVE HATH NO ONE THAN THIS, THAN HE WHO LAY DOWN HIS LIFE FOR ANOTHER"

  • Pl_avatar_max50

    CSP067

    about 3 years ago

    504 Comments

    The absolute highest level of unselfishness and sacrifice, showing the world what it means to lay down your life for others. Rest in peace brother, you and your daughter will be reunited one fine day.

  • American_flag_eagle_max50

    NewYork911

    about 3 years ago

    1672 Comments

    God Speed Brother...

  • White_shirt_max50

    uncledennis1

    about 3 years ago

    23284 Comments

    R.I.P. Brother. Hero

  • Terry_sgt_max50

    tlb48156

    about 3 years ago

    12 Comments

    A true hero indeed. Rest in peace my brother.

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