FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WKRG) — A return to the beach and a place Bill Smith and his wife Samantha loved. A fitting place for a final farewell.

“We all remember where we were on June 6 in 2021 but I wanted us all to be where Bill was on that day,” said Baldwin County Sheriff Hoss Mack.

So, in private, family and friends, deputies and co-workers gathered to mark the day they will all remember. “It was after 6 in the evening on a Sunday and I was home,” said Mack. “They called me immediately from the beach and said that Bill had entered the water and at that point in time they did not know if Bill was actually one of the victims or not. It was still very chaotic.”

Bill and his partner Sydney Wentworth answered a 911 call. Half a dozen or more people were caught in rip currents in the gulf near the tip of Fort Morgan. All would be rescued except Bill. “We thought it was fitting today on the one-year anniversary to remember Bill’s sacrifice,” said Mack.

He died in a place he loved, a place that is beautifully dangerous at times and a place where the name Bill Smith and “hero” will forever be joined. “So Bill’s death not only serves as a reminder of the danger but I think it also serves as inspiration.”