Call it instinct, call it training, or call it a miracle. No matter what you call it, a young boy is alive thanks to the help of a Yorkville man who was in the right place at the right time.
On Thursday, state Sen. Joseph Griffo awarded Timothy Corey with the Liberty Medal, which is the highest civilian honors that a New Yorker can receive.
On March 19, Corey, who is a lieutenant with the state Department of Corrections and Community Supervision in Marcy, was on vacation in Myrtle Beach when a 12-year-old boy got stuck underwater after his foot was pulled into a pipe in a lazy river pool.
Another correction officer from Pennsylvania jumped into the water and administered CPR to the boy underwater, and Corey jumped into the pool to help as well. The boy was underwater for about eight minutes before he was freed by the two correction officers and other first responders.
“Due to the life-saving actions of Timothy and the other rescuers, the boy was released from the hospital after six days of treatment,” Griffo said in a news release. “Through his actions that day, Timothy demonstrated his true character and a genuine compassion for the well-being of others. He is very deserving of this special recognition and should be regarded as a true hero.”
The hotel security footage of the incident went viral after it was released.
“The grate had gotten pulled up, so it’s basically just a suction line about six inches around," Corey said. "That’s what keeps that water moving. And when he got stuck into that pipe, he was under water at the time, because he slipped and fell and he got stuck in that pipe.”
Corey says that he, the other correction officer, an off-duty police officer and an on-duty police officer all worked together to rescue the boy from the pool.
“Until the suction pumps kind of dropped down, it was a lot of big men in there and we couldn't get him loose,” Corey said.
“From what the experts of the pool company have said, you couldn't have gotten him out of there with a crane without it shutting down, because it's like 2.8 gallons per second,” he said.
Corey says they didn’t know about the boy’s condition for about six days after the rescue. When he got a call that said the boy was up and around, and “perfectly normal,” he says he was shocked.
The Liberty Medal is given to individuals “who have merited special commendation for exceptional, heroic, or humanitarian acts and achievements on behalf of their fellow New Yorkers.” But Lt. Corey says he just happened to be in the right place at the right time.
“First responders just go," Corey said. "I heard the call for help and went there … Without God, he never would have lived, because he was under water a long time."
“If you hesitate, you've lost. That's just something through 33 years of corrections. When you hear a call, you just go. Because if you wait, bad things happen.”
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