The Fish and Wildlife Service is proud that one of its volunteers received the Citizen’s Award for Bravery for unusual bravery in the face of danger while on property owned by or entrusted to the Department of the Interior.
Tim Durden, a recipient of the Citizen Bravery Award, was a volunteer at Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida when he performed a rescue above and beyond the call of duty.
Here is the story:
On November 22, 2015, a 21-year old male swimmer began to swim up the Spring Run Canal just outside Three Sisters Springs in Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge in Florida. The swimmer began to have problems swimming, panicked and called for help.
Tim Durden, an FWS volunteer, arrived on the scene via kayak as the distressed swimmer began to go under water.
When Mr. Durden got close, the panicked swimmer grabbed his kayak and tried to board it in an attempt to stay above water. The water depth at the entrance of the Spring Run Canal is approximately eight feet and a high outgoing tide made for a significant current.
If the swimmer had tipped Mr. Durden’s kayak over, both would have been at risk of drowning.
Instead of panicking himself, Mr. Durden spoke to the swimmer and calmed him down. He then instructed the swimmer to hold on to the rope on the rear of his kayak. Mr. Durden towed the swimmer safely back to his boat.
Had Mr. Durden not gone above and beyond the call of duty in rescuing the distressed swimmer at personal risk, the situation may have resulted in serious injury or a loss of life.
Tim Durden is a Manatee Watch volunteer in Crystal River.
This story is taken from https://www.fws.gov/news/blog/index.cfm/2017/7/6/Honorees-Keep-People-Safe-on-Public-Lands.