Coast Guard to present awards for heroic rescue in Puget Sound

13th Coast Guard District NewsSEATTLE — The Coast Guard will present the Silver Life Saving Medal to Petty Officer 1st Class Justin L. Heacox and a Certificate of Valor to Barney McGinley for their heroic effort that saved two lives off of Point No Point State Park in Hansville, Wash., July 26, 2011.

The ceremony is scheduled for Friday, Sept. 23, 2011, at 1:30 p.m.

Heacox and McGinley were on the beach when they heard screams coming from two boys who were caught in a rip current approximately 200 yards from shore.

The two men waded out into the 52-degree water toward the boys. They provided instruction for them to swim toward shore at an angle in an effort to draw them closer. While struggling to keep their footing in the strong current, Heacox and McGinley were able to reach the boys with a rope, which they carried from shore.

Upon return to shore, Heacox and McGinley treated the boys for hypothermia and exhaustion. Despite their own hypothermic conditions they remained on scene and ensured the boy’s conditions were properly treated.

The Silver Lifesaving Medal is awarded by the Commandant of the Coast Guard to any person who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of water. The rescue or attempted rescue must either take place in waters within the United States or subject to its jurisdiction, or one of the parties must be a citizen of the United States or be from a vessel or aircraft owned or operated by citizens of the United States. Since 1874, approximately 1,900 Silver Lifesaving Medals have been awarded.

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