Churchgoing father drowns saving daughter and family friend from rough waters while on vacation

(Photo: Facebook/Louisville Turner Circus)Kevin Chitwood with his young daughter while spending quality time outdoors (left) and doing a circus routine.

A heroic father died during a drowning incident in Gulf Shores, Alabama on Tuesday after rescuing his only daughter and a family friend who were swept away by waves off Fort Morgan.

Kevin Chitwood with his young daughter while spending quality time outdoors (left) and doing a circus routine.

Kevin Chitwood, 50, drowned, when he plunged into choppy ocean waters to help them, WHAS 11 reported.

Chitwood and his family traveled to Alabama from their hometown of Louisville, Tennessee for a family vacation.

Chitwood succeeded in rescuing his daughter and the friend, but as he attempted to swim to safety, he got stuck in the surf, which killed him, police said.

"The surf was very rough out there," said Baldwin County Coroner Stan Vinson Vinson. "His daughter was saved, but unfortunately, he didn't make it."

Chitwood was a member of the Saint Albert the Greater Parish in Louisville, according to a statement from Rev. David W. Harris, the Courier Journal reported.

He was also a member of the Turners Circus in Louisville.

Members of the circus troupe expressed grief by the loss of their dear friend. On a message on the outfit's Facebook page on Tuesday, they said Chitwood "was a friend to all."

"Whether he was backstage at the circus, filming a routine, lifting his daughter in the air, working the snack bar at the pool, managing the pool, painting the pool, or any other of the tasks he took on—he had a smile on his face. We share our deepest condolences with his family. Kevin, you will be deeply missed," their wrote.

Last month, another man also drowned, sacrificing his own life to save another.  Tim Adams, a 35-year-old former U.S. Army engineer turned Christian missionary, died doing missionary work in Indonesia while saving the life of a young boy, WYTV reported.

Adams, from Warren, Ohio, had survived three bomb explosions during tours of duty in Afghanistan and Iraq, only to perish in the waters off Indonesia.

"He was a combat engineer. His main duty was to disarm explosives and clear ways for infantry to come in," said his brother Lenny Adams who described him as "very humble, very caring, and loving."

Roy Mack, pastor of Grace Fellowship Church in Niles, the church that Adams belonged to, told WYTV that Adams carried some guilt for having killed people during combat.

"He said, 'You know, I want to spend the rest of my life not carrying bullets to other parts of the world, but I want to carry the word of God and live out my life serving Christ this way,'" Mack said.

This prompted Adams to volunteer as missionary intern with Grace Fellowship Church in Niles and Liberty University in January this year, the pastor said.

He had just begun his missionary work in Indonesia when he made the ultimate sacrifice.

He was swimming off a beach with some children when the water quickly rose above their heads, his brother Lenny said.

"He stayed out to get the kids in and he sacrificed himself for a 6-year-old," he added.

This article was originally published on The Christian Post.

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