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Friends remember Helena dad who drowned saving daughter on Father’s Day

By Jon Paepcke

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    PANAMA CITY BEACH, Florida (WVTM) — Josh Adkins considers Chris Pierce a good friend.

They met when Atkins came to work at Bessemer’s Town and Country Ford dealership. “He loved God. He loved his family, loved his wife. His kids would do anything in the world for them,” Adkins said.

Then Sunday, Panama City police say Pierce jumped into the ocean to save his daughter from the rip current. She survived. The veteran car salesman and father of three did not.

Mike Jamison worked under Pierce at Town and Country for seven years. The former Army 1st Sergeant described Pierce as a leader like no other.

“In the military, they teach us three types of leaders: authoritarian, participative and a delegator. And Chris was all three of those,” Jamison said.

Co-worker John Adkins said Pierce was the primary reason everyone at the dealership felt like family.

“I mean, you look up leadership in the dictionary and I picture him,” Adkins said.

Recently promoted to general sales manager where he had worked since 2001, Adkins and Jamison believe the impact of his leadership will carry on.

“What would Chris say right now? ‘Go to work.’ We will. I know he would want us to go to work,” Jamison said.

Work that would include looking out for family at work and at home, even if that means putting others before yourself.

“A true hero. Yeah, that’s him. I wouldn’t expect anything else from him,” Josh Adkins said.

Pierce is survived by his wife, two sons and a daughter.

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