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Teen praised for saving 6-year-old from drowning
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Family get-togethers should be a time for relaxing, socializing and catching up on recent news. One local family discovered just how fast tragedy can strike in the midst of happiness.
“It all happened very fast,” said Leda Roberts. “One minute Rayden was looking at the water from the dock. Then, he was in the water. He must have leaned out too far. Sam didn’t hesitate. He jumped right in. Somehow, he was able to tread water and hold Rayden’s head up.”
Rayden, 6, and Sam, 15, are cousins and were in attendance at a family gathering in Pulaski on a private lake to celebrate the birthday of a family member with fishing and fellowship.
Of the incident, Sam says Rayden did lean out too far.
“I saw him lose his balance, so I tried to grab him around the waist,” he said. “His arms were flailing. He tried to grab me, but couldn’t steady himself. He fell into the water.”
Sam says he first attempted to pull Rayden back onto the dock, but to no avail. When that didn’t work, he jumped in and used a lifesaving technique he learned while taking an American Red Cross class at McMinnville Civic Center last summer.
“I got in behind him, wrapped my arms around him, and held his head above water,” said Sam. “Then I screamed for help.”
Both boys were pulled from the water by a relative, Keith Roberts, who had been down at the water and close to where the incident occurred.
Sam credits the classes with teaching him the lifesaving technique he used to hold onto Rayden and keep his head above water.
“Because of that class, I knew what to do,” he said. “I knew how to hold onto him. Without that class, I might not have done the right thing.”
The Warren County Chapter of the American Red Cross has been offering swimming, water safety and basic first aid classes at the Civic Center for decades. This month, sign-ups for the 2012 Learn to Swim class will be held at the Civic Center on June 28 from 5 to 6:30 p.m. The course, taught to students in six different skill levels, is free.
Sam, an incoming junior at Warren County High School, would rather do without the fuss or hear the word “hero” when referring to the incident.
“I don’t want the attention, but I guess I will survive it,” said Sam.
Other members are not as willing to let the rescue slide.
“Rayden’s mother came up and grabbed Sam and hugged him,” said Leda. “She held him and said ‘I can’t thank you enough for saving my child’ right to his face. I’m very proud of him, too. He knew exactly what to do and he did it.”
For more information about the classes offered by the Red Cross, call 473-2595.