NC man who drowned saving fiancée’s son remembered as a hero


SOUTHERN SHORES, N.C. (WAVY) — 32-year-old Kenny Gooch of Powell’s Point, North Carolina, drowned last week in Southern Shores while saving his fiancée’s son.

Now his fiancée Vicki Brock is shedding light on what happened in the water and how Kenny died a hero. 

Vicki and Kenny were together for seven years. She told us he treated her three boys like they were his own. Last week Kenny sacrificed his own life to save her youngest son Blake. 

“I’m so grateful for the sacrifice that he made with his life that showed me truly how much he loved us,” said Vicki tearfully. 

She said Kenny just finished working a long day at the junk yard when her sons begged to go to the beach. 

“I was saying ‘well we can wait until tomorrow because it’s getting later,'” Vicki said. “They kept on wanting to go, so of course Kenny, he was beat, he was tired, but he said ‘let’s go to the beach, the boys want to go to the beach.’ He always wanted to make everybody happy.” 

MORE: Man drowns trying to rescue 12-year-old in Southern Shores

MORE: 3 drown in separate incidents at NC beaches on Saturday

So off they went to the Kitty Hawk Pier in Southern Shores. Vicki and Kenny sat on the sand and kept an eye on the boys in the water. 

Vicki said the water didn’t look rough but they noticed the boys drifting farther out, and could tell something was wrong. Then her sons began yelling for help. She and Kenny both ran into the water. Kenny headed for the youngest, 12-year-old Blake, who was the farthest out. 

“He was tired, he had been working all day, but he didn’t wait one minute to jump in that ocean and save my baby,” Vicki said. 

Kenny managed to reach Blake and keep his head above water long enough for other good Samaritans to reach them and get the boy to safety. 

The rough water swept Kenny farther out to sea. His body was found a short time later. 

“I know that he’ll remain by our side,” said Vicki. “Because I honestly feel like he’s our angel. He’s definitely our hero.”

Vicki doesn’t blame anyone for Kenny’s death, but has a simple idea of what could help save people in similar situations in the future. 

“I would like for floats or some kind of life preservers to be out there at the pier,” she explained. “Because I feel like if that stuff was available, things could have been a little different. It’s nobody’s fault God has a plan for everything, but I feel like if that was there in place Kenny could still be here.”

Vicki now has another problem. Kenny was just 32 years old and didn’t have life insurance. She says they’re struggling to come up with enough money for a proper funeral. 

If you’d like to donate, call the Gallop Funeral Home directly at 252-216-8030  and say you’d like to donate to Kenny Gooch’s funeral expenses. 

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