A Daughter Saved, A Hero Lost E-mail
On the evening of April 26, 2011, Wade Sharp pulled into a campground in Choctaw County, Mississippi with his 9-year-old daughter Bailey by his side. They began what was to be a special week of father/daughter time, camping and hiking through the Natchez Trace.

They pitched a tent, built a campfire, and spent the evening roasting marshmallows together. The good times had barely begun. But in the early morning hours, a violent thunderstorm and high winds ripped through the campground, knocking down trees and scattering tents.

As Wade instinctively covered his daughter with his body to shield her from the storm, a large tree crashed down through their tent, killing him instantly. Remarkably, Bailey was unharmed and was brought to safety by neighboring campers. In a split second, a father had unselfishly given his life to save his daughter.

This tragic story however, is only the final act of heroism by Lt. Douglas "Wade" Sharp, a 19-year veteran of the Covington Police Department. Lt. Sharp was a two-time medal of valor recipient, national "Top Cop" nominee, and the most decorated officer in the department's history.

In 1995 as a young patrolman, Wade climbed up to the second story of a burning apartment complex to save a disabled man from certain death. With the home engulfed in flames, Wade balanced one foot on a utility ladder, and one foot in the gutter, while he pulled the man out of the window. Once he was safe, Wade scaled the ladder a second time and rescued the man's dog, "Lundi".

Through the years, Wade rose through the ranks. He trained new officers, did accident reconstruction, narcotics investigation, and was a K-9 officer, among other things. But Wade never lost his place on the street, and he never shied away from dangerous situations.

Almost a decade later as a Lieutenant, Wade again responded to a house fire. While firemen were working to contain the blaze, Wade spotted someone through a rear window, lying unconscious on the floor.

Without any protective gear, he immediately broke out the window and climbed inside.

After pulling the man to safety, he himself had to be treated for cuts and smoke inhalation.

No policeman will ever know how many lives they have changed by their everyday actions. But for Wade, these people's lives are a testament to his bravery, character, and his place as a hero among men. He was a "cop's cop", a friend, and a proven leader.

He leaves behind a wife and two children, a heartbroken community, and a family of police officers who are glad to have known him, and proud to walk his beat.

Stefan Montgomery is a detective with the St. Tammany Parish Sheriff's Office, Investigations West/Financial Crimes in Louisiana. Email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it

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