Frederick Pepperman, affectionately known as Fred, was a 53-year-old father of four from Tennessee. He had four daughters, all of whom were with him and his wife Julie when they took a vacation to Seacrest, Florida earlier this month. On July 14, the family headed to the beach to soak up some sun. They weren't aware of the flags warning them of dangerously high waters that day. Fred was settling into his chair at the beach while his daughters excitedly ran out to the ocean. When no one was expecting it, tragedy struck and Fred was quick to react, according to People.
Grace, only 16-years-old and the youngest of the girls, had gotten caught in a riptide. She couldn't regain her footing. Her older sisters, 20-year-old Olivia and 24-year-old Kathryn, saw that she was in trouble. They made their way towards her in hopes of pulling her to safety, but they too were soon caught up in the dangerously strong tide. Fred didn't hesitate when he saw that his girls were in trouble. Even though he knew he was putting himself in danger, he swam out to his daughters and was able to pull each one of them to safety. Unfortunately, he wasn't able to save himself. The ferocious waters became too much for him, and he fell unconscious. Bystanders on the beach rushed to form a human chain to pull him to the shore and then performed CPR upon him, but it was too late. He was later pronounced dead at a local hospital, having given up his life for his family.
His wife, Julie, wants everyone to know that Fred was a selfless father who proved his love for his daughters when they needed him most.
"Without him, three of mine definitely would be gone. It doesn't seem real. I just want people to know a lot of dads say they would do it, and he did it, so that's a dad," she said.
Colette James is Fred's sister in law. She was on the beach with the family during that tragic day. She recalled the desperate words Kathryn said to her father before he rescued her from the riptide."Kathryn said, 'Daddy, help me,' and he said, 'I got you.'Those were the last words he told her," Colette said.
The family started a Go Fund Me page to help raise money to give Fred the funeral he deserves.
"He died for the greatest purpose in life, his children," the page reads.