Memorial service honors NHCS teacher who died saving children from rip current

(Photo: Celeste Smith, WWAY)

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Many people came together this weekend at a memorial service at Lifepoint Church to remember and celebrate the life of Jessica Embry, who died while trying to rescue two children caught in a rip current in Kure Beach on April 18.

Embry was an orchestra teacher at Ashley High School with New Hanover County Schools.

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At a memorial service over the weekend, those who knew Jessica Embry said that they were devastated to hear of her death, but were not surprised to learn that her last breath was used helping others.

”We knew that’s what she would do,” said Bryanna Massey, student of Embry.

“I know — and everyone we talked to, the first thing they said is — that was precisely her character,” said Lauren Hart, student of Embry. “As awful as it was, it didn’t surprise us, not in the slightest, because she loved kids and she would give her life for kids.”

At the memorial service, family and friends shared intimate and fond memories of Embry about her dedication in helping others, missions in Uganda, and serving at Lifepoint Church.

“We’re grieving; her family’s grieving, ” said George Kapusta, Lifepoint Church Pastor. “Ashley High School’s grieving. People we don’t even know are grieving.”

“We want this” moment, Kapusta continued, “to be a celebration of Jessica Embry’s life.”

Joey Walker, a friend to Embry for more than a decade, said she was genuine and kind-hearted.

“She was the most selfless person you’d ever meet, and she was always available for you when you needed a hand or a shoulder,” said Joey Walker.

A GoFundMe Page has been set up in Embry’s memory that will go to organizations she was passionate about, like the United Sound Program, Nourish NC, Foster Pantry, and Ugandan missions.