Arkansas Air National Guardsman killed in Sunday's tornado while - KATV - Breaking News, Weather and Razorback Sports

Arkansas Air National Guardsman killed in Sunday's tornado while saving his child

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VILONIA (KATV) – Sunday’s tornado claimed the life of a master sergeant in the Arkansas Air National Guard.  Daniel Wassom wasn’t just a hero in the air – he was a hero the night his life was taken.

“They were squatting down in the hall right there where she is standing and he was kind of over her like this,” said Carol Arnett, Wassom’s grandmother, depicting what happened that tragic night.

Wassom took his two daughters, ages five and seven, along with his wife Suzanne into what he believed to be the safest part of his home – the center hallway.  He covered one of his daughters, his wife covered the other.  Unfortunately the whole house was destroyed.

“A piece of wood of some kind went through his chest and they said more than likely it killed him instantly,” said Arnett.

Wassom’s wife is now stable at Conway Regional Hospital, but has more than a dozen staples in the back of her head after getting hit by falling debris.

Arnett, 73, flew in from Oklahoma to help pick up the pieces of what was left of Wassom’s Aspen Creek Drive home.  Arnett’s son, Daniel Wassom Sr. was there as well – hard for him to handle.

“I was just telling my wife yesterday,” recounted Wassom.  “I said, ‘This is not supposed to happen this way, parents are supposed to be burying their kids – kids aren’t supposed to be buried by their parents.”

In addition to Arnett and Wassom, Wassom’s in-laws were there as well trying to recover whatever they could from the shell of a home that once was.  But there was a member of Wassom’s other family there as well, his Air National Guard family.

“It’s just the right thing to do,” said Alan King, who served with Wassom in the Air Force.

Just as he is remembered by his flight brothers for his bravery in the skies, he’s remembered by his grandmother fondly for his bravery on Sunday.

“He’s my hero,” said Arnett.  “But he’s a hero anyway.  He’s a good family man – he’s a Christian.”

Funeral plans are tentatively set for Friday for Master Sergeant Daniel Wassom.  His family set up a GiveForward fundraising page in his honor and to help his now widowed wife and children with funeral expenses and hospital bills.  You can donate by clicking on the link under the “associated links” tab.
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