Alvarado High School senior Travis Curry was at the right place at the right time on the afternoon of Sept. 14, when he rescued a man who was drowning in Joe Pool Lake.
Curry, 17, was assisting the leaders of Boy Scout Troop 217 by helping the
Scouts to finish requirements for their swimming merit badges.
“I was just there to help - holding the floats and acting as a life guard for the younger boys,” Curry said. “I was floating in an inner tube when I heard this man screaming.
“I looked around and saw this Hispanic man who looked to be in his early 20s yelling, ‘Help, Papa! Help, Papa!’”
Curry said the man’s father swam the distance out to his son, but was tired by the time he got there.
“He did something that no one should ever do when they are rescuing a swimmer - he approached his son from the front and, when that happens, the victim panics and tries to grab the shoulders of the one rescuing him and then they both go down,” Curry said. “So then the father started yelling for help, realizing that he did not have the strength to pull his son out of the water after his son had dunked him a couple of times, and he (the father) swam back to the bank after he realized I was on my way to help.”
Curry had viewed an educational video the night before about how to react when a person is drowning and that it taught him to approach a victim from the back and swim the victim backward to safety.
As the father made his way back to the shore, Curry swam out to the struggling 20-year-old.
“I swam out to where he was and did as that video said and grabbed him from the back and I told him two or three times not to worry, that he was going to be OK,” Curry said. “When we got back to where the water was only about four feet deep, he told me that he could take it from there. He sat down on the edge of the lake and was very shaken, but okay.”
“I am very proud of my son,” said Travis’ mother Angela Curry, who is a math teacher at Alvarado High School. “It’s a rare opportunity to save someone and Travis did everything right, remembering his training from Scouts and keeping a cool head.
“Travis has been very modest about this,” she said. “He thinks anyone could have done what he did, but he’s wrong.
“The son’s own father couldn’t save him,” she said. “You have to know what to do and not everyone has had the correct training. We have to thank the Boy Scouts for Travis having the knowledge of what to do.”
Curry said that he found out he was eligible to apply for a national Boy Scout Medal for Heroism, but he said, “It’s rewarding enough to me just to know that I got to help someone,” said Travis.
E-mail Paul at firstname.lastname@example.org.