Boy scout hailed as hero for saving 12-year-old from drowning in raging waters

A high school student and boy scout was honored by the Atlanta City Council for his bravery, after he rescued a 12-year-old from the swirling rapids of the Nantahala River, in North Carolina, last summer.

The Boy Scout’s motto is “Be Prepared,” and that implies having a quick mind and not hesitating to help others, just like Zachary Bryant, a member of Boy Scout Troop 213, did seven months ago.

The 17-year-old was on a trip with his troop to North Carolina when a whitewater rafting activity on the Nantahala River took a dangerous turn. A 12-year-old boy scout from another troop fell into the raging waters, but luckily, Bryant was able to save his life.

With the help of an Eagle Scout, who safely guided their raft towards the boy, Byant was able to pull the kid into their raft using only one hand. Talking to WSB-TV, the Druid Hills High School student gave all the credit to the Lord, saying:

“I gave all the glory to God in this situation. Pulling him up with one hand. I mean, that’s just the strength of God.”

On Monday’s Atlanta City Council meeting, Bryant was recognized for his bravery. On his speech, he thanked his parents for being great mentors to him and his little brother, and for “teaching them strong values of faith, commitment, and love.” He also thanked the council for recognizing the youth of Atlanta and the Scouts of America.

Bryant’s parents couldn’t be prouder of the boy. “It was an experience that I think every parent would have just been humbled by,” his mother said. Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, from Ebenezer Baptist church where Bryant’s troop is chartered, also hailed the boy and his troop for their actions.

“They are young men of faith, and they have deep compassion and empathy for others, and they took all that, with a dose of courage, and they saved somebody’s life,” Warnock said.

For Bryant, it all comes down to doing what his heroes taught him to do: “Ever since I was a little kid, my parents always taught me to help somebody out in need," he concluded.

Heroes come in all shapes, ages, and genders, and usually hazardous situations push people to find their inner strength and bravery to help others. Like it happened to Tamy Geerts, a mother of two that risked her life in front of her kids to save a drowning man.

Geerts, an off-duty Michigan security officer, was in her car with her two kids when they noticed a vehicle in the water at the Placid Lake Community, near the intersection of Lake Michigan Drive and 84th Avenue, in Allendale Township.

Not thinking twice, Geerts took off her socks, shoes and glasses and dove into the water, leaving her  6-year-old son and 9-year-old daughter in the SUV. She found a man sitting in the sinking car, with the water already reaching up to his waist. The man was unresponsive, and Geerts had to drag him out of the flooded vehicle.

Although the man did little to help Geerts, first responders arrived at the scene in time and helped her get the man to safety.

“My daughter was a little scared, but she's like, 'Mommy, you're a hero’” Geerts said. “It makes you feel good, but I'm not a hero. Anybody would do it."

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