Community mourns Moab man they say died a hero; saved woman struggling to cross Colorado River

Photo: GoFundMe

MOAB, Utah, July, 14 2022 (Gephardt Daily) — Family, friends and community members are paying tribute to a Moab man authorities say was swept away Sunday while helping someone cross the Colorado River.

According to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office, the body of Clay Petty, 53 was recovered during a multi-agency search Tuesday around 10 a.m., a mile south of the Potash Boat Ramp, where the incident took place.

“On July 10, 2022, at approximately 1530 hours the Grand County Sheriff’s office received a report of a male subject unaccounted for last seen in front of the river near the potash boat ramp,” the GCSO said in a post on social media. “The male party was identified as Clay Petty.”

When word of Petty’s disappearance first spread through town, his daughter, Brook Anastasia Day revealed the heartbreaking news that her father was “saving a 63-year-old woman from drowning” when he was taken by the river.

A circle of friends and family shared their thoughts, at first praying for a best outcome, then reconciling what search teams tragically confirmed.

Tineka D. wrote on Facebook, “My heart is aching so much. Clay Petty has been such a dear friend, confidant, father figure, and mentor to me and so many of our community. He is one of the strongest people I know and pray endlessly that this isn’t how his epic life ends.”

“Clay you always knew how to help others in need,” wrote Michelle M-P. “You are my hero, and the boys both will always remember you as their real life Iron Man.”

Kimberly Ranch reached out on Facebook and echoed what many where saying, “Clay you are always someone’s HERO. You will be missed by many. Prayers for the family and all who knew him. Thank you for always helping someone out. For always being a great friend to whoever met you.”

A GoFundMe account has been established in the family’s behalf.


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