By Colby Eilerman
I’m sure we all have thought about being a hero. But when you think of a hero, you probably think of Spiderman, Batman, Wonder Woman, or any other comic book heroes. However, anyone can be a hero, like soldiers fighting to keep our freedoms and risking their lives every day, so that we can enjoy ours. One thing I’ve learned is that anyone can be a hero. You just have to use your skills and talents at the right time, in the right place. One skill that made me a hero was the fact that I am an Eagle Scout. I knew what to do, I believed in myself, and I was able to pull in a drowning elder while at the beach, using my kayak.
Firstly, before I go into the details behind saving a man’s life, let me tell you why this was quite the challenge. The beach I was at is known as Honoapo, or, in English, Whittington Beach Park. It has what we call a keiki (child) pool, which is a bay in the beach park. Usually, people tend to stay inside the pool, but if you are an adult you usually like to go outside of the bay. It has a narrow opening of about 10 feet, and this is the only way to get back to shore. Normally, you’d be safe outside of the bay; however, if you’re an elder man who can’t swim, you might want to stay away from the outside. This tourist had never been to Honoapo, so he obviously didn’t know this.
Secondly, I was on my fourth Kayak trip around all of Honoapo. It is a small beach, but has a huge connecting pond that I took three rounds of friends/family on. Thus, I was worn out. And, dear reader, this is an example of how the universe works. I was trying to put my water bottle inside of a hatch on my kayak, but for some reason I couldn’t open it. The directions were even on the hatch lid, yet for some reason, I couldn’t see them! Once I was able to finally find the directions, I put my water bottle inside. That very second, I heard a cry for help behind me. I turned around, and saw the drowning man. I rushed my kayak over to him, told him to get in, but he refused. He just wanted to hang on to the back, his lower half in the water, while I dragged him in to shore. Having passed eighth grade physics, I knew that if part of him stayed in the water it would be harder for me to bring him in. Nevertheless, I fought against the current (being created from high tide turning into low tide) and using all of my might, I was able to save him. And that’s the story of how I saved a life.
Though, the story doesn’t end there. My parents are two of the most modest and generous people on the planet. They’ve taught me this simple phrase that I will keep with me until the day I die: “A good person is someone who helps others. A great person helps others without taking the credit and praise.” After I saved him, he and his wife thanked me and tried to pay me. I simply stated “I’m an Eagle Scout, sir. Just the fact that I know I helped someone in need is payment enough.” And so, they went back to their group and I to mine. I tell you the truth when I say this: I was going to keep this accomplishment a secret. I was never going to tell anyone, because I do not like to take credit for good deeds I’ve done. However, the moment that made me change my mind occurred when the party was over. We were all saying our farewells, and as my family finished packing up a friend of ours told me (in front of everybody) “Hey Colby, I saw you save that old guy’s life out there with your kayak. Good job!”
I cannot express in words the facial expression my parents shared. When they recovered from the shock that statement had created within them, they asked me “What?” I tried to play it off as “no big deal” but they told me it was a very big deal. Thus, I told my friend and fellow Blogger Katrina Zerounian (check her out, she has a wonderful writing format and author’s tone), and she said it would make for a great blog. So here I am today, recounting the perilous tale of how I managed to save someone’s life against all odds. If there is a moral to this story that I want to share with you today, it would be that you should never give up. I’m not a professional kayaker or strong individual, and yet, with a pulled muscle in my arm I was able to drag a man through a current to safety. No matter what the situation, whatever looming obstacle you have in front of you, remember: When the going gets tough, the tough get going.