GLEN ELLYN, Ill. — Three young boys are credited with saving the life of a man earlier this summer.
This week, the boys, from Glen Ellyn, were recognized for their actions of heroism.
Declan Devlin, his twin brother Tiernan, Tommy Nitti and Charlie Valerio have been best friends since pre-school.
The fifth graders at Forest Glen Elementary were at Lake Ellyn on a warm summer day back in June.
“We were going fishing and the guy had an RC boat and it flipped over,” Nitti said.
The man, in his mid-20s, tried to swim out to retrieve it, but started struggling.
“He was flailing his arms around and yelling for help,” Nitti said. “It looked like it was hard for him to swim.”
“It was a lot going through my mind,” Tiernan said. “It was kind of scary at the same time.”
Three of the boys ran to Tommy’s house across the street and grabbed his inflatable paddle board and life vests.
“Me and Tommy got on the boat,” Declan said. “I paddled out.”
“He threw me his phone and I told them to get on the raft quick and told me to call the cops and that’s exactly what I did,” Tiernan said.
The boys paddled out to the middle of the lake, which is about 15 feet deep.
“Declan gave him a life vest and told him don’t fight it, get on your back and breathe,’ and we brought him back to shore,” Tommy said.
Glen Ellyn Deputy Chief Kurt Vavra recognized the boys and their heroic efforts at a school district meeting on Monday.
“We presented them with a life-saving award, they each got a patch we wear on our uniform and a challenge coin,” Vavra said. “Very impressive, it’s nice to see they didn’t just stand idly and hope for the best. They had to jump into action to save this man’s life and they did.”
“I feel like I did what I had to do,” Declan said.