August 3, 2021 by Cathy Stack
The boys noticed the young woman earlier in the day as she swam in the area with a friend. Hours later, deep floodwaters from the nearby creek pulled her into the engulfed basketball court. She was quickly trapped in high floodwaters and frantically trying to stay afloat.
The boys stopped their bikes at the surreal scene of the basketball court transformed into what looked more like a muddy pond. As bystanders dialed 911, the boys knew there was no time to waste. They quickly jumped into action — and into the water.
“We didn’t have time to think — her head was barely above the water, and we could see her sinking more down every second. We didn’t think about the risks; we had to get her out,” Dominic said.
The Boy Scouts quickly swam out to the woman. They each grabbed one of her shoulders and hoisted her up. They held tightly onto the woman and swam with her to the safety of dry ground. There, they were met by emergency responders, who performed first aid on the young woman and rushed her to the hospital.
“There were some currents trying to pull us down, too,” Dominic recalled of the risky rescue.
“The fire department said she was still caught in the water when they got there,” said Joseph. “I thought it was just a minute, but it had to have been a lot longer once they got there.”
“When we got there, the woman was in bad shape, I think she was in there about 10 minutes,” Columbia Assistant Fire Chief Brad Frazier said. “What they did is really amazing. They saved a life that day.”
The boys’ families are proud of their rescue effort but were concerned about the many dangers they faced. Floodwaters contain many hidden hazards, such as chemicals, downed power lines, sewage runoff, or heavy debris.
“They did it because she was drowning and wasn’t going to make it,” said Monica Viet, Dominic’s mother. “They did it because it was the right thing to do.”
The teens’ scoutmaster, Morgan Dailey, was impressed with the boys’ brave actions but not surprised. He said there is a major emphasis on Scouts’ being prepared for emergency situations. The boys already earned their swimming and lifesaving merit badges, so they felt ready for the call to action when it came.
The young woman wanted to keep her identity private but said she is doing well, thanks to her young heroes. In recognition of their bravery, the Columbia Fire Department (CFD) has honored the Scouts with a “Citizen Life Safety Award.”
PassItOn and The Foundation For A Better Life believe Dominic Viet and Joseph Diener are young heroes. The boys made a quick, courageous decision to put themselves in peril to save a young woman’s life. Their actions clearly demonstrate the value of bravery. Please help us celebrate these two young men by sharing their inspiring story.
Watch video here: https://youtu.be/WZ9Z2_w9wwk
Watch video here of Dominic and Joseph accepting their awards: (The Young Heroes Receiving Their Awards):
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