RANDOLPH AIR FORCE BASE, Texas (AFPN) -- When a staff sergeant from the systems programs office at the Air Force Personnel Center here went to a local river for a relaxing tubing trip recently, he was not expecting to save the lives of two people from the rain-swollen waterway.
Floating down the usually calm river on an innertube is a common pastime in nearby New Braunfels.
But a normal day on the river came to an abrupt end for Staff Sgt. Boyd Myers, a Web applications developer, when he reached the bottom of a manmade water slide portion of the river called the "Tube Chute."
"Normally the chute isn't that intense, but with the higher water it was much faster than normal," he said.
Sergeant Myers had just reached the bottom of the chute and was caught in an eddy when he heard frantic screams from a nearby woman. Then he realized that an 8- or 9-year-old girl had fallen off her tube and was caught in the rapids.
"I saw the little girl come up for a moment, but she was knocked back under water by other tubers and then became trapped under her own tube," said the sergeant, a frequent tuber. "I will never forget the look of fear that was on her face. That's when I decided to leave my tube and try to swim through the rapids to get her."
"He dove under the water, grabbed the little girl, battled through the currents and the people, and swam her to the side," said DeAnn Little, another tuber who witnessed the rescue.
"Luckily, I was able to get to the girl by swimming underwater," Sergeant Myers said. "The current under the surface almost brought me right to her, but I had to fight the currents to get her to the side."
Upon realizing that the girl's mother was also caught in the undertow, he swam back into the churning water to attempt to rescue her as well.
"When he got to the mother, she was panicking and basically wrapped him up," Ms. Little said. "He was somehow able to get her over to the wall too."
"Rescuing the mom was a lot more difficult," Sergeant Myers said. "I had to fight the current to get to her."
Had he not acted as he did, the little girl and possibly the mother would have drowned, Ms. Little said.
"I know that anyone would do what I did; I just happened to be there," Sergeant Myers said. "The fact that I may have helped a child to be able to play with her friends today is more reward than anything I could receive." (Courtesy of AFPC News Service)