On Tuesday, Curry County Deputy Terry Brown was honored by the Carnegie Hero Fund Commission (CHFC) for saving a teenager who was swept away to sea.
The purpose of the commission, founded by Andrew Carnegie, is: “To recognize persons who perform acts of heroism in civilian life in the United States and Canada, and to provide financial assistance for those disabled and the dependants of those killed helping others.”
Brown was among 20 heroes who were honored from across the nation.
Last year on June 2, 14-year-old Joshua Peterson, was swimming in the surf at a state park beach near Brookings, Oregon when a strong current swept him into deeper water. Hearing his shouts for help, first responders, including Brown, set out to pull him back to shore.
Wearing a life jacket with a 100-foot length of rope attached, Brown entered the 54 degree water and swam to Peterson. After he reached the end of the rope, he had to detach himself to get to Joshua, who was over 300 feet from shore.
The two could not fight the current to swim back, so Brown held Joshua above the water until other rescuers could join.
“We were just floating out there—just hanging out. I say hanging out, but it was more like hanging on for dear life. Every other swell came over our heads,” Brown said.
After 35 minutes in the water, another member of the rescue team arrived with a long enough rope to pull them all back to shore.
Brown and Peterson were taken to a hospital and treated overnight for hypothermia. Both fully recovered and Brown returned to work within a week.
CHFC has awarded nearly $37 million to over 9,700 heroes since it was founded in 1904.
(Photo Credit: Curry Coastal Pilot)