Seven who helped save Korean kids from drowning are honored
September 18, 2007
CAMP HUMPHREYS, South Korea — Seven people who recently worked together to save two South Korean children from drowning were awarded Friday for their actions.
The seven are Jason Hechtman, Maj. Gregory Gagnon, Maj. Allen Selkey, Maj. Bart Darnell, Tom Casey, Johanna Gagnon and Claire Darnell.
Four received Public Service Awards. All seven received Red Cross Awards, Army and Air Force Exchange Service gift certificates and U.S. Army Safety Awards for their Aug. 5 life-saving efforts at Camp Humphreys’ Splish and Splash Water Park.
“Because of their combined actions, two children are alive and well and safe with their families,” said U.S. Army Garrison Humphreys commander Col. John E. Dumoulin Jr. “Those seven people are heroes.”
While officials from Humphreys and Osan showered the seven with praise, participants in the rescue said they didn’t think of themselves as heroes.
A lifeguard spotted one child at the bottom of the pool and dived in to assist. Upon realizing that there were two victims, the lifeguard called for help. Two Air Force officers visiting the park with their families rushed to his aid, while a third called emergency services. Two family members and a second life guard then administered CPR.
The incident led to increased safety measures at the park, including requiring parents to sign safety statements when bringing their children and giving lifeguards the authority to administer swimming tests to those they think might be weak swimmers.
“I’m glad we were all there at the right time and that everybody helped,” said Claire Darnell, a registered nurse who performed CPR on one of the children. “We save lives practically every day at the hospital. It feels nice that somebody actually said ‘thank you.’ ”