BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Clarkston High School students Alex Byrd and Tyler Brueck were in the right place at the right time when they saved two children in a rip current during spring break in Florida last week.
The two juniors visited the beach with their families and friends enjoying the sun and waves.
“It was a pretty normal day,” Byrd said. “The ocean was a little rough, but that is always good for some boogie boarding. We were advised there were some sections that had rip currents in it. We avoided those sections.”
“The lifeguard was directing people out of a certain area but the beach goes on for miles so we weren’t in that area – we were next to it boogie boarding,” Brueck added. “We noticed these two kids. At first we weren’t sure if they were playing around or something. As we paid more attention we could make out ‘help me.'”
Byrd moved closer to one of the children, an 8-year-old boy, who dunked under the water, holding his head up and waving his hands around.
“This kid is in trouble – I need to pull him out now,” Byrd remembered. “I grabbed him and told Tyler to grab the girl.”
Brueck was able to get to the 6-year-old girl, who was a bit further away.
“We got in the current and it got 10 times harder to move,” he said. “I grabbed her with one arm, and I was using the waves to propel me forward. As soon as I could stand up, I carried her to shore and set her down. She threw up, but she was conscious. The family was there – her mom was crying and I think her dad was just in disbelief. He shook my hand, and her mom hugged me. The lifeguard came over, too, greeted us and thanked us.”
For both of the guys, it felt good to be at the right place at the right time to save the kids.
“It feels pretty good knowing I did the right thing,” Byrd said. “Knowing I saved a life, I know now what I would do in a similar situation. I took action right then and there. I feel pretty good knowing I can trust my instincts in that way. I know I can count on Tyler – I always knew that. It feels pretty good we saved those kids.”
“It’s pretty amazing,” Brueck added. “I thought I would never do something this important or save a life and it happened. It shows anybody can make a big impact or save a life.”
The boys were in Florida with the Clarkston Boys Varsity Lacrosse team fitting in practices and working on their skills.
Brian Kaminskas, head coach of Clarkston Boys Varsity Lacrosse, added it wasn’t a surprise Byrd and Brueck would be quick to act.
“They are really good kids and come from great families,” he said. “It was more getting to the kids. Then once they were there and knew what was going on getting the kids to safety. Good heads up and knowing to put the needs of others in front of them.”
Byrd and Brueck said practices went good and are ready for the rest of the season and being back in school this week.
“I have definitely thought about what school will be like,” Byrd said. “It has crossed my mind. I just wanted to go on spring break and I guess there were other plans than that.”
Byrd, Brueck and their teammates host Troy this Thursday in their home opener. JV begins at 5:30 p.m., varsity follows.