Florida Surf Community Mourns Loss of Young Father and Firefighter Ethan Wilson
Rest in Power.
On Wednesday morning, 33-year-old Ethan Wilson — a local pillar in the New Smyrna and Ormond Beach surf communities, a respected firefighter, and new father — was found floating facedown next to his board, just a few minutes after friends had seen him bobbing happily in the lineup, like every other session they’d shared.
“We haven’t heard anything definitive,” Kevin Miller of the Florida Surf Film Festival says. “A couple people I talked to who were surfing next to him said he was fine one second and then two minutes later he was lying face down in the water. I was about to paddle out and I saw five or six people helping him toward the beach. I ran and got somebody to bring the lifeguard, and watched them work on him for twenty minutes.”
According to the Daytona Beach News Journal, “Bystanders pulled Wilson to shore where the off-duty firefighter performed CPR on him before he was transported to AdventHealth Hospital in New Smyrna Beach.”
“They got his heart beating with a pacemaker, and eventually did a CAT scan,” Miller says. “No significant brain activity at all.”
The Florida surf community rallied around Wilson’s family almost immediately, raising more than $80,000 to cover his growing medical bills through a GoFundMe Ethan’s brother-in-law Bryon White set up immediately after the incident, as Ethan’s condition remained unclear.
“I have known Ethan since he was 14,” writes Bryon. “To know him is to love him. Those who know Ethan know he is the most kind and gentle soul one could ever hope to meet. Aside from being an avid outdoorsman, a surfer and fisherman, Ethan has a beautiful family – his wife, Ashley and his infant son, Coast. Whether you know him from the brewery, CrossFit, the beach, or the firehouse – he’s probably put a smile on your face.”
However, on Saturday it became clear that Ethan wouldn’t be waking up, and the decision was made to remove Ethan from life support and allow him one more act of generosity, saving multiple lives through the donation of his living organs.
“We are deeply saddened with the news of Ethan Wilson’s passing,” the Daytona Boardriders posted to Instagram last night, following a massive outpouring of support, fundraising, and love at Saturday night’s Florida Surf Film Festival, as attendees earned of Ethan’s death. “As Americans, it is our duty to love and care for the ones who have suffered from a tragic loss, we need to be there to help in any way we can. Last night at the @flsurffilmfest was a pure example of the community coming together to share this love and we would like to thank all the people for coming out for Ethan. He may not have been part of our club but he was part of this community and that’s all that matters!”
According to the DBNJ, “In a statement Sunday, officials with the City of Ormond Beach said Wilson was a dedicated member of the Ormond Beach Fire, a loving father and husband, and friend to all who knew him. “Wilson was a firefighter/paramedic with Ormond Beach since 2018, said city spokeswoman Jenn Elston.”
“His passing is a tremendous loss for our department, as well as for the entire Ormond Beach community.”
Rest in Power, Ethan Wilson.
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