William Nichols, DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department Director of Search and Rescue. (Image courtesy of the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department)
The DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department (DCSD) has released the following statement regarding the tragic loss of one of their own on Wednesday in Florida.
It is with a heavy heart we inform you that our DCSD Director of Search and Rescue, William Nichols passed away Wednesday, July 22nd while on vacation with his family at Fort Walton Beach, FL.
While they were swimming, Director Nichol’s son was caught in a rip current, and being pulled out to sea.
Director Nichols entered the water to rescue his son, and he managed to save his son’s life before he drowned.
His body was recovered by Walton County Fire Rescue, and we are working on a solution to return him and his family home as soon as possible.
Director Nichols became passionate about Search and Rescue at a young age when his father was over the SAR unit. Director Nichols also became an Explorer when he was a kid.
Director Nichols was hired at the DeSoto County Sheriff’s Department in January 2010 as a patrol deputy and still volunteered with SAR. He transitioned to SAR in a full time capacity, and he served as Director of Search and Rescue for the past seven years.
Director Nichols leaves behind a wife and two children, an 18 year old daughter and a 10 year old son.
Words to describe Director Nichols would be humble, passionate, kind, and he always put others before himself.
Please keep the Nichols family in your prayers during this difficult time, and thank the Lord for men like Director Nichols who have given their life so that others may live.
We are grateful for the kindness, professionalism, and hard work of the Walton County Sheriff’s Office and Walton County Fire Rescue during this challenging time for the Nichols family and the Desoto County Sheriff’s Department family.
Director Nichols was the embodiment of a true hero.