Local fireman wins award for pulling man from lake
A humble Tommy Hayes said he is not a hero but instead an instrument of divine intervention.
“It wasn’t nothing spectacular. I was just at the right place at the right time,” Hayes said.
The 55-year-old was out with his buddy Gary Dodson, a retired member from GuilRand Fire Department, on High Rock Lake in September looking to catch some fish. They were competing in the High Point Fire Department Bass Club when the captain spotted a man fall out of his canoe 30-yards away.
“He was under a bridge and kept trying to stand up and tie a rope off under the bridge. We saw him fall out of the canoe and he was bobbing up and down, hollering for help,” Hayes said. “My buddy cranked up my boat and we got over there just in time, right before he went down the last time. I stuck a long pole down in the water, he grabbed the pole and we brought him up.”
Hayes said they pulled the man into the boat. The told them to take him to the bank nearby where they let him out. They haven’t seen him since.
“I still don’t know who the man was,” Hayes said. “He didn’t know us and we didn’t know him. It was just a freak accident and it was a miracle that we were that close to him.”
Hayes said that he feels there was some divine intervention because his boat cranked on the first try.
“A lot of the time my boat does not crank the first time you try to crank it,” Hayes said. “I say, by the power of God, the boat fired right up and we got there in time to save the man. There was more than just me and my buddy. There was a higher power at work that deserves more praise than we do.”
He received The Helping Our Neighbors Overcome Real Situations, or HONORS program Extra Mile Award by the city for his efforts. Those given the award have their names read into the record of the High Point City Council, receive a plaque honoring their service, receive public recognition and receive a $100 cash award.
The HONORS program, is an initiative by the city to recognize and reward city employees who demonstrate excellent customer service. They can be nominated by city employees and customers. Hayes said he is not sure but he thinks that he was nominated by someone he works with but still maintains he doesn’t deserve it.
“I appreciate the city for recognizing people,” Hayes said. “I am sure there are people who deserve to be recognized for what they do.”
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