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Friday, October 2, 2009 - 12:20pm

Beach Rescuers Awarded Heroism Medal

Updated: 5 years ago.
The Carnegie Hero Fund was established in 1904. There were 20 awards given this year, each bearing a cash prize of $6,000. There have been 9,304 awards given since the fund's inception. (photo Carnegie Hero Funds Commission)

The Carnegie Hero Fund Commission this week recognized a Brunswick teacher and a St. Simons Island fireman for saving the lives of three girls last year.

The fireman, John Baker, and the teach, Joel Moody, saved Sarah and Emily Wagner and Laura King, all of Nashville, Tenn., from drowning off St. Simons Island, Georgia, on July 23rd.

Sarah, 19, her sister Emily, 15, and their friend Laura, 15, were on a sandbar in the Atlantic Ocean about 300 feet off the beach when the incoming tide stranded them there.

Others on the beach called 911, and responders included firefighters who were neither trained nor fully equipped for water rescue.

Fearing there was insufficient time for a Coast Guard unit to arrive, one of the firefighters, Baker, 25, entered the water with a rescue tube, as did Moody, 45, teacher, who had been walking on the beach.

Having to swim across a strong lateral current and against the incoming tide, the men made their way to the sandbar, Moody encountering difficulty en route from a cramp.

Baker positioned Emily and Laura on the rescue tube and started to return to shore, pulling them, as Moody, also using a rescue tube, returned to shore with Sarah.

He was nearly exhausted, but he recovered. As he swam, Baker struggled against the current and the weight of the girls, but he too made it to the beach safely with them.

Click to hear an interview with John Baker:

Click to hear an interview with Joel Moody:

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