ALEXANDER COUNTY, N.C. - "I called them heroes that day. They said 'we ain’t no heroes,' and I said: 'Yeah you are,'" Sheriff Chris Bowman told FOX 46.
Sheriff Bowman was almost brought to tears as he thanked the three men who dropped everything to save the life of a 6-year-old boy that was drowning in Lake Hickory.
"They didn't hesitate to take action," Sheriff Bowman said.
"You don't do something like what we did to get something like what we have. I’m just so thankful," Scott Lingerfelt said.
The three men were working to remodel a house on December 27, 2019, when they heard what they thought was a small animal.
"It sounded just like an animal crying, and it was only for a minute we could make out that it was a person saying 'help me,'" said Officer Waycoff, who was with the men that day.
Lingerfelt heard the boy’s cry for help and wanted to get results. He jumped in the water believed to be 40 degrees that day and swam to him. Lingerfelt never took off any clothes before jumping in the water, including his work boots.
"When I got over to where I could see him I said, 'Hey buddy you're going to be ok. We're going to get you,'"Lingerfelt said as he tried to comfort the small child.
The young child and his mother were unable to attend the ceremony. The boy's older brother was with him that day at the lake and was on leave from the military. He has since returned to base, but the Sheriff's Office plans to send him a plaque as well. The men involved explained how they're just thankful they were in the right place at the right time.
"Even to be outside where we could hear him was a miracle," Wycoff said.