DUNWOODY, Ga. — Family and friends are remembering a Dunwoody father after he died saving the lives of three people struggling to swim off the Florida coast.
Kim McGrady died while on vacation last week in Miramar Beach. His friends are calling him a hero and said they are not surprised that he rushed to help others.
“He was the walking embodiment of what it meant to have a good name on this earth,” Travis Williamson told Channel 2′s Mike Petchenik.
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Williamson met McGrady while working for Chick-Fil-A, but they quickly forged a close friendship outside the office.
“He was extremely selfless,” Williamson said. “He took his role of father and husband very seriously and it carried into everything that he did.”
Last week, the Walton County Sheriff’s Office said there was high surf and strong rip currents that caused dangerous swimming conditions. The office had to launch several water rescues.
Williamson said his friend was an incredible swimmer and didn’t hesitate when he saw the people struggling in the strong currents off Miramar Beach.
“He went in the water to get people out, and literally the third time he went in, he didn’t make it back out. The rip tide carried him away and we lost him,” he said.
As news of McGrady’s death traveled throughout the community, neighbors placed white ribbons on their mailboxes to honor his legacy
Murphey-Candler baseball posted a tribute to McGrady, calling the one-time Little League coach and board member a hero who will be truly missed.
“There were probably thousands of folks who felt that way about Kim and for his neighbors to show up the way they did yesterday was just an embodiment of who he was,” Williamson said.
It is support that Williamson says McGrady’s wife and two children will need going forward.
“I just continue prayers for that family. Continue to cover them and keep them,” he said.
Close family friend Melanie Gracey told Petchenik that McGrady had a connection with everyone he met.
“When you watched him, you realized he had the gift of making everyone feel special and important,” Gracey said. “Kim was a gentle giant with the broadest smile that you’d ever see.”
Chick-Fil-A sent Channel 2 the following statement:
“The Chick-Fil-A family heartbroken by the passing of our friend and colleague Kim McGrady. Kim left an incredible 13-year legacy at Chick-fil-A and will be remembered for his servant heart, integrity and compassion for others.”
A GoFundMe Page has been set up for the family.