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Friend remembers Halifax County man who died trying to save girl from drowning in ocean

HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. – A Halifax County man is now being called a hero after he died Wednesday while trying to save a girl from drowning in the ocean. 

"He was selfless. He would do anything for anybody. He would go without to help a kid, man, woman. He would do anything to help somebody," said Jason Matthews, a friend who was vacationing with Troy Strickland. 

41-year-old Troy Strickland was vacationing with friends and family in Emerald Isle, North Carolina. Red flags had been posted up and down the beach Wednesday warning people to stay out of the water. Matthews says they had all planned to relax on the beach, but after seeing a girl struggling in the water, Strickland jumped in to help.

"We were going out there to join them and my daughter called me and told me that he was unresponsive and he had tried to save a girl and the riptide had took him," said Matthews. 

It was a selfless act by a man that lived his life helping others. Matthews says he wonders what would have happened if he had been with Strickland on the beach, but he also knows Strickland and knows that his heart would not have let him stand still.

"Looking back hindsight, the only thing I could have done is tackle him and keep him from going to the water because he was going to go; he was going to go," said Matthews. 

Strickland leaves behind a wife and two children. To help out the family, click here

North Carolina has seen 12 deaths this year as a result of rough ocean conditions, including dangerous waves and strong rip currents.