WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Members of the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department and Ocean Rescue are mourning the loss of one of their own.
Jeremy Owens, a captain with the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department and Ocean Rescue, died suddenly Monday, according to Wrightsville Beach Fire Chief Glen Rogers.
According to Rogers, Owens was a lifeguard for Wrightsville Beach for 20 years and with the fire department for about 12 years.
“He was just an outstanding gentleman,” Rogers said. “A true professional. Ocean rescue and fire and just an all around good sport. Just really good physical shape, worked out everyday. Just every task that he took, he took it to 100 percent.” Rogers says he taught and mentored hundreds of younger lifeguards over the years leaving an impression upon many.
“Many, many people from the junior lifeguard program all the way up to our senior members of the department that are just being deeply, deeply affected by his loss,” he said.
Owens was well known in the lifeguard community, but his talents reached far beyond the ocean waters.
Owens was an actor and was active in the Wilmington film industry. He played the Headless Horseman in the television series “Sleepy Hollow” from 2013-2016, portrayed Pig Head in “Swamp Thing” in 2019, and was featured in the film, “Ocean Rescue: Making the Squad” in 2018.
Rogers was also well known in the Mixed Martial Arts community and once ran his own gym.
Derek Brunson, who is ranked globally, credits Owens for getting him into the sport as his first coach.
“The world definitely lost a great person,” Brunson said. [A] very good guy, you know he was a guy who was very kind. Would give his last thing to anybody, you know he went out to places all across the world with me and didn’t ask for a dime, he just did it out of the kindness of his heart.”
A memorial, surrounded by flowers, has been created in front of the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department. It includes a ladder truck with the American flag flying, the truck Owens used to patrol the shore at Wrightsville Beach and the jet ski he used in ocean rescues.
According to Chief Rogers, a memorial service will be held Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Wrightsville Beach Park in front of the Wrightsville Beach Fire Department.