Prison Inmates Save Three Boys from Drowning

02/07/2013 at 04:45 PM EST

Prison Inmates Save Three Boys from Drowning
From left: Larry Bohn, Nelson Pettis and Jon Fowler
KPTV
When three inmates were assigned to clean up a park near their Yacolt, Wash. minimum security corrections facility, they had no idea how important that day's community service would be.

While finishing up their work on Jan. 30, Nelson Pettis, 37, Larry Bohn, 29, and Jon Fowler, 29, heard children's screams coming from the nearby creek. Rushing to the water's edge, they saw three young boys struggling to keep their heads above water.

The children's small canoe had capsized, dumping the boys into the cold, 25-mph current, which was rushing towards the Washington River.

"It was raging pretty fast," Pettis told the local KPTV news station. "They were really scared."

He and Bohn didn't think twice, leaping into the water to grab the boys – later identified as brothers ages 8, 10 and 16 – carrying them to a small island, where they awaited emergency rescue. "They kept telling us, 'Thank you, thank you,' " Bohn told reporters.

Prison Inmates Save Three Boys from Drowning| Good Deeds, Real People Stories

Salmon Creek

KPTV



Fowler, who remained on land and helped emergency crews blow up an inflatable raft and bring the group back to shore, told reporters that while some may find their actions surprising, "We did what any good person would do."

The men took off their shirts to wrap up the shivering boys, all of whom were taken to the hospital for mild hypothermia.

Prison authorities say the men involved are all serving time for non-violent crimes.

"Just because we're incarcerated doesn't mean we're bad people," Fowler told reporters. "We made some bad choices in our lives, but we're still just like everybody else."

Your Reaction

Follow Us

On Newsstands Now

Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Robin Roberts: How Loved Saved Me
  • Emma and Andrew: All About Hollywood's Cutest Couple
  • Prince George! More Yummy Photos

Pick up your copy on newsstands

Click here for instant access to the Digital Magazine

blog comments powered by Disqus
Advertisement

From Our Partners

Watch It

Editors' Picks

From Our Partners



Sign up for our daily newsletter and other special offers.
    Choose your newsletters
Thank you for signing up! Your request may take up to one week to be processed.
    see all newsletters