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July 16, 2009

Lifeguards honored for good deed


Cooperstown Crier

Village lifeguards Ryan Davine and Todd Mayton were honored Monday night for rescuing a couple after their canoe capsized in Otsego Lake on Memorial Day.

During a brief ceremony at Three Mile Point, where the rescue occurred, Mayor Carol Waller said the two 17-year-olds took it stride like it was just a part of their jobs.

``They didn’t make a big deal of it. These two men knew their job and did it well,’’ she said. ``I think these young men are very, very exceptional.’’ Village Clerk Teri Barown, who is instrumental in hiring the lifeguards, said she didn’t hear of the incident until it was reported to her by Jackie West, the caretaker at Three Mile Point.

``I can’t be more proud of the all the staff here, especially Ryan and Todd,’’ Barown said.

According to West, the situation could have been life-threatening because of the couple’s age, the fact that they weren’t wearing life jackets, the temperature of the water and their calls for help. The incident happened at about 11:30 a.m. Memorial Day, the first weekend the park was open.

West said Davine grabbed the rescue board and Mayton cleared the water of swimmers before entering the water to swim toward the couple and the canoe. Davine, who initially heard water splashing before the victims’ calls, said he swam to the couple with a rescue board.

Mayton said the couple was 10 or 15 feet beyond the roped-off swimming area. When he reached Davine, the woman was seated on the rescue board and he helped the man get onto the board by going underneath the water and pushing him up.

Mayton said Davine set a calm tone for teamwork during the rescue. Davine swam the couple in, and Mayton said he followed with the canoe.

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