Saving drowning women is part of a day’s work for a pair of Missouri Boy Scouts who had already collected their swimming and saving life merit badges.
The county recreation center pool where such badges are earned presents very different conditions than those created when a June storm dumped six inches of rain over Columbia in Missouri with little warning, causing stream flooding to overflow, which caused the overflow areas to become ponds.
As 15-year-old Dominic Viet and 16-year-old Joseph Diener passed a basketball court that had essentially been converted into a water polo area, they heard the frantic screams of a young woman desperately trying to keep her head above the water under the water. force. of a stream.
The children had seen the girl swimming with a friend there before, but now it was obvious that she was drowning.
“The first thing that came to mind was getting into the water,” Dominic said. CNN. “We didn’t have time to think, her head was just barely above the water and we could see her sink deeper every second. We did not think about the risks, we had to remove it ”.
Heroes will do what heroes do and, lifting her on their shoulders, Dom and Joseph carried her ashore, where emergency services who arrived at someone else’s call provided first aid and took her to the hospital.
Floods are not conditions for swimming. There may be sewage runoff, loose chemicals, downed power lines that carry current with electricity, or physical debris such as manhole covers that have been lifted from their plugs by the force of the water.
Deputy Fire Chief Jerry Jenkins described the children’s act as heroic and courageous, as did Dominic’s mother, who had been calling for her son for some time before and was getting nervous.
She sent her husband, Dom’s father, to check her position, but when he arrived she saw ambulances and fire trucks from the call that was meant to rescue the young woman.
“I thought about the worst, he is on a bicycle and people were not paying attention and my fear was that he would stop and see our son on the ground,” Ms. Viet said. “But then he saw them on their bikes heading back to his friend’s house, and I got a text message from Dominic saying ‘I’m coming home soon, I just saved a woman’s life, Mom.’
Oh mom … how about you have a little faith?
The fire department will honor the two children with a “Citizen’s Life Safety Award” next week.
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