Oswego first responders honored for risking lives in 2010 drowning incident
Two years have passed since Leonard Nichols and Clifford Luther drowned while fishing in the Oswego River. Now, two first responders are being honored for their efforts to save them. Officials said these two men went well above the call of duty. Our Candace Hopkins has more from Oswego.
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OSWEGO, N.Y. -- On September 28, 2010 Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie and Police Sergeant Damian Waters, each heard the call come in, four fishermen had been swept away by the Oswego River's raging current.
"A civilian came up to the Sergeant and I, we were both out of the original flow of all the chaos that was further up river and said there's two people floating, and he's pointing", said Oswego Fire Chief Jeff McCrobie.
That's when Chief McCrobie and Sergeant Waters made a split second decision, each jumping into the water with only a burrowed life jacket. They began swimming towards the men, but without tether lines, their own lives were now in danger.
"In I went, the sergeant got the first one, and I went a little further out, with the help of a life vest, and we feel some gratification in that, that we were able to attempt to make a difference even though they both perished", said Chief McCrobie.
The other two men were plucked from the water by other firefighters and survived. Two years later, McCrobie and Waters are being honored for their efforts, receiving the Silver Lifesaving Medal. It's the second highest honor issued by the Coast Guard for water rescues.
"These gentlemen, Chief McCrobie and Sergeant Waters definitely went above and beyond the call of duty, and did something we all hope somebody would do if we were in that situation", said Rear Admiral Michael Parks.
Both men said despite the incredible risks they took that day here on the river, if it all happened again they wouldn't think twice about putting themselves in danger once again.
"To get an opportunity, there's 65 more people in the Oswego Fire Department and many in the Oswego Police Department who would the same thing. You see it, and you react, you don't think about it", said Chief McCrobie.
The Silver Lifesaving Medal has been given out since 1874. Another Oswego Native, Ed Fillingham, was awarded the Silver Medal last year, for helping save a child's life during a canoe accident.