Lo­cal awarded Carnegie Medal for an act of hero­ism

Ox­ford teen saved man from drown­ing on va­ca­tion

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Michelle Kim

Many 18-year-olds might hes­i­tate be­fore risk­ing their lives to wade into a rip tide to help a stranger. But for Ox­ford res­i­dent Kyle Christo­pher­son, it wasn’t even a ques­tion.

“I guess I re­ally didn’t think about it too much,” said Christo­pher­son humbly, of sav­ing the life of 47-year-old Daniel Broad­dus last July.

Christo­pher­son, an all-state var­sity swim­mer and now a 19-year-old ju­nior at the Uni­ver­sity of Ge­or­gia, was va­ca­tion­ing with his fam­ily that fate­ful day at Day­tona Beach Shores, Fla.

While at the pool of a con­do­minium com­plex next to the beach, he no­ticed a man flail­ing in the ocean and yelling and a woman on shore yelling.

Broad­dus had been wad­ing in the wa­ters when a pow­er­ful rip tide pulled him from the shore. As he strug­gled to make it back to land, he be­came ex­hausted. He was about 150 feet from the shore when Christo­pher­son plunged into the choppy wa­ters.

“The wa­ter was re­ally strong that day,” re­mem­bered the teen. He had been caught in a rip tide once be­fore and had learned first-hand the un­pre­dictable power of the ocean.

When he reached Broad­dus, Christo­pher­son felt the bot­tom be­neath his feet and re­al­ized there was a sub­merged sand­bar nearby. He pulled the Ohio man onto the sand­bar so they could both rest for a mo­ment, then took a hold of Broad­dus, who was nearly un­con­scious, and

headed back to shore.

It was slow go­ing, said Christo­pher­son, swim­ming with one arm in a di­ag­o­nal di­rec­tion to avoid the cur­rent. Af­ter about 10 min­utes, they reached the shore, where there was a life­guard wait­ing. Broad­dus was given oxy­gen and re­cov­ered.

For his ac­tions that day, Christo­pher­son was awarded the Carnegie Medal – an honor be­stowed by the Carnegie Hero Fund on “those who risk their lives to an ex­traor­di­nary de­gree while sav­ing or at­tempt­ing to save the lives of oth­ers.”

The New­ton County na­tive was one of 25 civil­ians around the coun­try and in Canada re­cently rec­og­nized for their hero­ism. Since the fund’s in­cep­tion in 1904, a to­tal of 9,224 peo­ple have been rec­og­nized, ac­cord­ing to the com­mis­sion.

“I am very proud,” said his mother, Kathy Christo­pher­son, who wit­nessed the in­ci­dent along with her hus­band, Keith. “We were proud when it hap­pened and scared as well.”

“It’s just an honor,” Kyle said. He and his fam­ily were thrilled and ex­cited when they re­ceived the call that he had won the award, he said.

The Christo­pher­sons had ap­plied for the award six months ago but hadn’t heard any­thing for a while un­til sev­eral weeks ago when the com­mis­sion in­ter­viewed the fam­ily as well as other wit­nesses.

Along with the medal, Kyle, a pre-med bi­ol­ogy ma­jor and 2006 grad­u­ate of Ge­orge Wal­ton Academy, was awarded $6,000 in schol­ar­ship money.

Sub­mit­ted photo

Home­town hero: Kyle Christo­pher­son, sec­ond from right, pre­pares for game­day with his mother Kathy, girl­friend El­iz­a­beth and fa­ther Keith.

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