CHESTERFIELD COUNTY, Va. (WRIC)– What is being called a “catastrophic accident” took the life of a Chesterfield County firefighter this weekend.

41-year-old Alicia Monahan, was teaching a swift water rescue course on the Nantahala River in Macon County, North Carolina on Saturday when she died.

Monahan served with the Chesterfield Fire and EMS Department for 11 years. During that time, she helped recover a body from the Swift Creek Reservoir in March.

In 2019, Monahan was honored with a Valor Award from the Retail Merchants Association. The award recognizes the acts of heroic first responders from around Central Virginia.

The Virginia Search and Rescue Dog Association posted on Facebook Saturday, saying, “Alicia was more than a teammate she was also a personal friend to many of us and this loss is unimaginable… Alicia was a wonderful, caring person, a beautiful, bright light went out today and our hearts are broken.”

The Chesterfield Professional Fire Fighters Association also wrote a Facebook post Saturday, saying, “The next couple of days, weeks, and months will be very trying for everyone that knew Alicia… On behalf of the executive board, we share in your shock and sadness of this untimely passing of our sister Alicia.”

Monahan leaves behind two sons and a fiancée.