MARGATE (CBS4) – Three teenagers who pulled a toddler out of a Margate canal last week were honored by the city Wednesday night for their heroic acts.
Johnny Grail, Michael Dusek and Antonio Ezzo received Civilian Life Saving Awards at a city commission meeting. The trio is credited with saving the life of a 3-year-old who was playing unsupervised on a seawall when he fell in a canal. The teens were finishing when they saw the child enter the water. Grail and Dusek jumped in to save the child while Ezzo called 911.
“When I got to him his face was under water and his arms were out and I picked him up,” Dusek said at the time, adding that had the teens not been there, “I say he would have drowned, simple as that.”
Grail scooped up the child and ran to the child’s house. Johnny said the boys’ mother thanked him and took the child inside.
First responders arrived soon after to check on the child. The boy was admitted to Plantation General Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
Firefighters tell CBS4 News they learned that the mother lost track of her son.
On Wednesday in front of friends, family and city residents, the teens were honored with plaques and showered with words of praise and applause.
“These are fine young people and they’re a credit to their community,” said Division Fire Chief Rick Donahue. “They got there just in the nick of time. They prevented a tragedy.”
The teens were overwhelmed by the accolades.
“It’s really cool,” Ezzo said. “Everything that happened is really cool.”
Something else really cool for these high schoolers? Knowing they saved a life.
“It changed me in my heart,” said Grail. “I was just glad to be there and help this kid.”
Firefighters say there’s a lesson in this story for everyone.
“We have to be very careful with all the water around our communities,” said Donahue. “The water’s a blessing because it affords us so many recreational opportunities. But we have to respect it.”
CBS4 News tried to speak to the parents of the little boy and see how he’s doing but no one answered the door at his family’s home.
Police tell CBS4 News they are still investigating the case and have not decided yet whether to file charges.
The teens enjoyed a small get together later Wednesday eating pizza and chicken wings. They hope their story inspires other people to step up when they see someone in need.
“I’m glad that I know that he is safe, that he didn’t drown because if that were on my conscience knowing that he was so nearby it would have hurt me,” he said.
The teens said they haven’t heard from the boys’ family since the incident occurred. The teens say they plan to go over to the family’s home in the near future and check to see how the little boy is doing.