ETOWAH COUNTY, AL (WBRC) - Friends and family are mourning the loss of a loved one in Etowah County.
Vicky Ryan was a member of the Etowah County Rescue Squad. She was killed Saturday while trying to find a missing kayaker on Big Wills Creek. The boat Ryan was riding in capsized and she drowned during the rescue mission.
"She loved the Lord and she had a servant's heart," said Rebekah Vinyard, a friend of Ryan's.
Vinyard said Ryan was one of a kind. She said Ryan never wanted to have the spotlight on herself. She was always focused on helping others. That's why she joined the rescue squad in the first place.
"She wasn't about anything being said about her, she wanted it to be about you or someone else. She wanted to help you, it didn't matter about her really. She just wanted to comfort people and splash Jesus on them," said Vinyard.
"We couldn't believe it," said Mike Hengle, the pastor at Parkway Community Church. "I've been a pastor for thirty-six years and this one took me totally by surprise I have to say. She was such a sweet sweet person."
Pastor Hengle said Ryan enjoyed singing in the church choir. He joked that she often didn't realize the strength of her talent.
"We had a little thing, everytime she got up to sing, I'd say belt it," he smiled. "She started to go further and further, it was amazing. She had a beautiful voice."
Ryan leaves behind her husband and fellow rescue squad member, Houston, and a ten year old son, Brayson.
Her friends and church family say they're prepared to wrap their arms around the family, just like she would have done for them.
"She gave her life for what she wanted to do. The Scripture says what greater gift can you give if you give up your life for another," said Hendle. "She went the way she wanted to go. I really believe that with all my heart."
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family during this difficult time: http://www.gofundme.com/sz2q3e6