Kate Bowman, who owns Clipper’s Canine Cafe, said Hermond was trying to help her when he disappeared into the flood waters. Bowman said she had escaped from the window of her flooded shop with her cat. The water was above her waist when she saw Hermond across the Tiber tributary.
“I could barely see anything and I could barely hear anything” because the waters were so loud, the 41-year-old Bowman said through tears on Monday night. “He stepped over the ledge to try to get to me, and he was washed away.”
Earlier Monday, county Police Chief Gary Gardner said Hermond had gone missing while trying to help a woman find a missing cat. Bowman said the situation “had nothing to do with my cat.”
“He was trying to save me,” said Bowman, who made it to safety. “He’s a hero.”
Gardner said Monday afternoon that teams were “aggressively” searching for Hermond. They were using dogs to help look in buildings and cars.
Maryland National Guard Col. Charles Kohler said Hermond is a sergeant assigned to Camp Fretterd in Reisterstown.
Kohler said Hermond was not working for the Guard when he went missing.
“Our thoughts and prayers go out to him and his family,” Kohler said.
Hermond joined the Maryland Army National Guard in 2009, Kohler said. He enlisted in the Air Force in 1996 and served more than a decade on active duty.
Hermond’s friends gathered on Monday at Victoria Gastro Pub in Columbia.
Jason Gotcher, who works at Victoria, said Hermond has worked there for 10 years as a server, bartender and manager.
Residents, merchants and officials in Ellicott City awoke Monday to examine the devastation wrought by floods that coursed through the historic mill town the night before — the second time in less than two years. Many immediately began to ask the question: Should we rebuild again?