Deputy 'Left This World a Hero,' Used Final Moments To Shield Wife During Easter Storm


Sacrificing yourself for another person is the most powerful expression of love possible.

On Easter Sunday in 2020, a Mississippi sheriff’s deputy did just that, losing his life as he tried to protect his wife.

In his final moments, Lawrence County Deputy Robert Ainsworth was shielding his wife, Paula, during a deadly tornado. Tragically, both of them died.

The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office announced the heartbreaking news in a post on its Facebook page.

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“It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Deputy Robert Ainsworth and his lovely wife, Paula. We, at the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, would like to offer our most sincere condolences to the families of both of these fine individuals,” the post said.

“Robert left this world a hero, as he shielded Mrs. Paula during the tornado. He was a very valuable employee and will be greatly missed.

“Please remember to pray for LCSO along with their families during this tragedy.”

The deputy had been a hero long before this final act of valor.

Ainsworth had served in the Marine Corps before becoming a longtime employee of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office.

His wife had served as a deputy clerk for the Walthall County Justice Court before her untimely demise.

Wilson Funeral Home gave Paula Ainsworth a beautiful obituary highlighting her love of her family.

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“Paula was a loving daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister and friend. She was a kind-hearted woman who enjoyed caring and providing for others, especially her 5 grandchildren,” the obituary said.

“Paula enjoyed spending time with her family and friends and her daily afternoon nap.”

The deadly storm system that claimed their lives plowed through the South and killed at least 33 people, according to The Weather Channel.

Later during the evening of Easter Sunday, Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency to “protect the health and safety of Mississippians in response to the severe tornadoes and storms hitting across the state.”

Reeves spoke out about the tragic storms in a series of posts on his Twitter account.

“This is not how anyone wants to celebrate Easter Sunday,” Reeves wrote.

“As we reflect on the death and resurrection on this Easter Sunday, we have faith that we will all rise together.”

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Michael Austin joined The Western Journal as a staff reporter in 2020. Since then, he has authored hundreds of stories, including numerous original reports. He also co-hosts the outlet's video podcast, "WJ Live."
Michael Austin graduated from Iowa State University in 2019. During his time in college, Michael volunteered as a social media influencer for both PragerU and Live Action. After graduation, he went on to work as a freelance journalist for various entertainment news sites before joining The Western Journal in 2020 as a staff reporter.

Since then, Michael has been promoted to the role of supervising staff reporter. His responsibilities now include directing the reporting team.
Ames, Iowa
Iowa State University
Topics of Expertise
Culture, Faith, Politics, Education, Entertainment


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