Boy, 6, gets lifsaving award

Published 10:05 am Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Tyler Stephens, 6, holds the first-ever Lifesaving Award presented by Windsor Police Chief Vic Reynolds as Tyler's brother, Ryan, looks on. Tyler saved Ryan from drowning in the family pool last summer. -- Merle Monahan | Tidewater News


WINDSOR—A 6-year-old Windsor boy has received the Windsor Police Department’s first-ever Lifesaving Award for rescuing his 3-year-old brother after jumping into a swimming pool last summer.

Tyler Stephens, the son of Windsor Police Officer Harrison Stephens, received the medal from Windsor Police Chief Vic Reynolds during a recent Town Council meeting.

“In my opinion, Tyler’s quick action and level-headedness saved the life of his brother, Ryan,” said Reynolds, who initiated the award. “He did not panic and showed excellent judgment in a critical situation. I am honored to present the department’s first-ever Lifesaving Award to him.”

The incident occurred in August. Tyler’s parents and grandmother, Ellen Serig, were on the deck at the Stephens’ home helping the boys get ready to swim in the backyard pool. Stephens was called to duty, leaving his wife, J.J., and mother-in-law to watch the boys.

Tyler jumped into the pool, but Ryan decided to ride his bike. Minutes later, Ryan changed his mind and told his grandmother he wanted to swim. Before she could get him into his life vest, the little boy, who cannot swim, jumped into the pool.

Seeing his little brother struggle to keep his head above water, Tyler swam over, grabbed him and held his head up. He then guided Ryan to the edge of the pool, where his grandmother lifted him out.

“It was pretty scary,” said Stephens. “We’ve taught Tyler about safety in the water; he knows that if you stay under water too long, you’ll drown. But Ryan is too young to realize this yet. He’s a little like I was when I was a kid — not afraid of anything.”

The Stephenses are proud of Tyler.

“He knew what to do and responded immediately,” Harrison Stephens said.

They are now teaching Ryan to swim.