North State Teenager Saves His Own Mother

Aug 16, 2010 8:02 PM

A family reunion August 8th at Whisky Town Lake took a turn for the worse after Hilda Knecht came close to drowning. She was relaxing on a pool float next to her eight and thirteen year old sons. She was helping her younger son in the water, when her own floating device got away. "As soon as I hit the water I started to panic, I didn't know if I was going to make it to shore."

It was a long swim, and Hilda isn't a strong swimmer. Thirteen year old Gabriel came to their rescue. "I saw them panicking so I jumped and helped my mom and my brother swim back to shore," Gabriel stated. "Sometimes he would have to push me in order to make it to shore because it was pretty far," Hilda said.

Gabriel was scared, but he knew he had to stay calm. "I was just focusing on taking them back to shore and making sure they were safe."

Gabriel says he was able to save his family using the skills he learned through the Hamilton City Fire Cadet Program. Gabriel is currently enrolled in the program, which teaches young students about firefighting and safety. A week before the incident, he spent three days learning water rescue skills. Spokesperson Renee Irick says this is exactly what the training is for. "He's an amazing kid and we're very proud of him."

But no one is more proud of him, than his own mother. "He saved me, he's my hero," Hilda explained.

If you would like to learn more about the Hamilton City Fire Cadet Program, you can call 826-3355.


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