HENDERSON, NEV. (FOX5) -- A Henderson man died saving his dogs at a San Diego beach on Wednesday.
Lifeguards found Gregg Owens and tried to administer CPR, but he was declared dead at a hospital.
Before moving to Henderson, Owens lived in Sterling, Virginia with his wife. There, he volunteered with the rescue squad.
“I think it just left a void with some people,” the rescue squad’s assistant chief Byron Andrews said.
More than 2,500 miles away in Sterling, Virginia, the rescue squad is feeling that void.
“I was really, really shocked and taken back,” Andrews said. “Several other people who knew Gregg were also taken back and saddened by the news.”
Owens volunteered at the rescue squad for more than a decade. A trained paramedic, he was eventually promoted to crew chief.
“Gregg definitely had a big heart,” Andrews said. “He was the type of guy who was a good crew member. It was a tight family so he kept everybody as a friend.”
And everybody knew how hard he worked. Andrews said Owens volunteered with the squad about 900 hours each year.
“Gregg was a real professional when it came down to running calls and just a real nice guy in the station,” Andrews said. “He was both professional and personable. The crew really had a great time when he came on duty.”
Andrews added Owens loved to serve, but more than that, he loved his wife and his pets.
“He would bring his dogs up to the station from time to time if there was a gathering or some other event occurring at the station,” he said.
Owens moved to Henderson in 2006. Andrews kept up with him on social media and said he often saw Owens and his wife on a new adventure.
“He would go hiking and take weekend trips,” he said.
San Diego police said on Wednesday Owens tried to jump into high surf to rescue his dogs. But strong currents swept him out.
Andrews said he will remember Owens for his dedication to his community.
“I can tell you over the years he served a lot of people, in many cases people that he didn’t know,” he said.
The Sterling Volunteer Rescue Squad also posted on Facebook:
No details concerning funeral arrangements have been released. Please keep the Owens family in your thoughts during this extremely difficult time.