A local marine has died saving two boys on our coast. The news came today from Cherry Point Marine Corps Air Station and includes a statement from this brave marine's widow.
MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT, N.C. (May 7, 2007) – Master Sgt. Michael Wert, an intelligence specialist with Marine Wing Headquarters Squadron 2, died Saturday at Atlantic Beach while saving two children.
Michael Wert was a credit to the Marine Corps, the 2nd Marine Aircraft Wing and Cherry Point. He was well liked in his unit, and was known for his willingness to help anyone. He will be sorely missed.
He leaves behind his wife Debbie, three children and many family members, friends and fellow Marines. Cherry Point will host a memorial service for Michael on Wednesday at 10 a.m.
Debbie wanted to release to the media her recollection of Saturday’s events and her reflections on the character of her husband. We ask that all media respect Debbie and her family’s privacy during this time of grief.
“Mike was a very detail-oriented Marine. He went out of his way to make sure everyone was taken care of here or abroad. Many times he spoke of the Marines that would come to him with problems. He was very proud to serve his country in any way possible. He was very family oriented. He enjoyed going fishing and took the kids fishing all of the time.
I just wanted everyone to know the story behind the events that took place on Sat. May 5th. My husband, Mike, passed away saving two boys’ lives in the ocean. We saw that they were having problems and so he went out to help and I called 9-1-1. I noticed they were not making much progress in getting in so while waiting for rescue personnel Katrina, (the daughter of Michael and Debbie), took a boogie board out to help get the boys. I ran to the car to get another one, but when I returned the rescue team had arrived.
She managed to help the boys onto the board, but didn’t see her Dad with them. The one little boy told her he had to let them go and had died.
We realized at that point we were only seeing three heads on the board and that Mike was missing. Katrina got them to help kick that board in and all of them were safe. The rescue team still had to find Mike. When they brought him to shore, they did all they could, but it was too late.
There were so many on that beach that we are very grateful for and we would like to extend our gratitude to the men and women who helped: We had strangers praying with us and women who took care of the children and got them towels and comforted them while we waited for them to bring their Dad back to life; all the Marines, friends and families that have stepped in and helped with meals, showing their support and kindness in any way they can.
God Bless all of you and as Mike loved to say— SEMPER FI"
-- Debbie Wert, widow of a heroic marine