Sometimes even average days can become complete opposites of what they started as. This family was on their way to having a wonderful day, but it turned into their worst nightmare.
Had it not been for this group of teenage boys, the outcome could have been very different…
8-YEAR-OLD Olivia Heid played with her 4-year-old brother RJ in their backyard on Harmony Road in Middletown, New Jersey. It was a beautiful day, and their parents got an idea to make it even more memorable for their little family.
Stephanie Heid and Richard Heid decided to take their kids for their first-ever snow-sledging experience.
They first went to Holmdel Park’s sledge hill, which was closed. Stephanie then took to Facebook to ask friends and family for suggestions and was told about the Beacon Hill Country Club. The family headed to the venue.
When they arrived in the afternoon, they noticed the prominent hill was too crowded and steep for their kids. They chose another mountain that was smaller and needed a deeper incline.
“We have two saucer sleds, but my husband insisted on bringing this big blow-up inner tube sled,” Stephanie said in an interview. “We spent half an hour sitting in the car blowing that thing up.”
The couple noticed a pond on the hill’s right but thought it would be fine since it was quite a bit away from the mountain.
The kids had their first go, which was beautiful, and excited them for a second attempt. Little Olivia sat on the inflatable sledge, and her little brother RJ sat on her lap. Their dad gave them a strong push, and off they went.
It looked like it was going smoothly until the sledge hit a patch of ice near some trees and dangerously ricocheted right into the icy pond!
Since it was an inflatable sledge, it stayed afloat but kept sinking with every moment, putting the little ones in grave danger!
Their parents were at the top of the hill, yelling for help and afraid they would not make it to the pond in time. Luckily, support was already there…
A group of 14-year-old high school freshmen were at the scene. Kieran Foley, Joseph Dietrich, Drew Scalice, Ryan Day, and Tyler Armagan, 14, had also been at the hill to sledge.
When they heard the commotion, the teenage boys had been busy throwing rocks in the pond to check if it had been completely frozen.
They then spotted the little kids sinking into the pond. Without thinking about his own safety, Kieran jumped into the pond to save them!
“I didn’t see anyone else be able to do anything, so I just jumped in,” he said while recalling that scary moment. “I was like, whatever. It wasn’t deep so I could walk right over to them. I picked them up and my friends formed a chain and we got the boy first, and handed him to my friends. Then I got the girl,” Kieran said.
“I couldn’t get down the hill fast enough,” mom Stephanie recalled. “There were other families at the top of the hill and we were all screaming. What was amazing to me was to see the boys immediately know how to form a human chain. I don’t know how they knew to do that. The whole thing is incredible.”
The young men had been ready for one particular reason both Kieran and Drew were members of Middletown Boy Scouts Troop 47. They likely learned the skill in their training.
During the rescue, Kieran’s boot got stuck in the pond, Tyler’s phone fell into the water, and another boy lost his headphones. Stephanie and Richard offered the boys a cash reward, but they all refused.
“They were insanely humble. They didn’t want anything, and they just wanted to ensure my kids were OK. They kept saying to my kids, ‘You’re safe now. You’re going to get a hot chocolate and a warm bath at home.’” Stephanie said happily, sharing the heartwarming exchange.
These brave young men won me over! What an impressive feat to have accomplished and so selfless of them to have done so.
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