Kale Greer believes 15 seconds meant the difference between saving his sister's life and the four-year-old drowning.
The 14-year-old and his friends Christison Maua, 10, and Koen Taylor, 11, were honoured Thursday at the Valhalla Inn during the OPP North West Region's awards for bravery ceremony with the Commissioner's Citation for Lifesaving for saving Kale's now five-year-old sister Kelci last September.
The boys were playing at the Big Eagle Lodge tourist camp on Eagle Lake near Dryden, Ont. when they realized Kelci was missing.
"I realized she was probably down by the dock. She loves the dock there," said Kale.
The boys ran to the dock and found Kelci crouching on the edge, ready to jump in the water.
"Just as we touched the dock, she jumped in the water. Koen grabbed a big fishing net and scooped Kelci up. Chris ran over to go and grab her. Then Koen came and grabbed Chris because he was just about to fall in after her," said Kale.
The boys pulled Kelci out of the water and returned her to the cabin and her mother.
"Honestly, I'm pretty happy that she's still here," said Kale. "If we'd waited 15 more seconds, she would have been gone."
It was Koen's quick thinking to grab a nearby fishing net.
"My mom told me if you jumped in with someone that was drowning, they could overcome you and pull you down," he said.
Thursday's ceremony was a proud day for all three boys and their families.
"I'm really proud of everybody and I'm really happy that everybody helped and something bad didn't happen," said Christison. "I was just happy that we got there before she jumped in."
About 30 officers and civilians received awards Thursday for life-saving acts and exemplary performance. Some OPP members were also recognized for achieving milestones in their careers.
OPP Deputy Commissioner Vince Hawkes handed out the awards and said the best part of the job is meeting the people that have committed these heroic acts.
"This is one of those things where day in and day out at the senior levels of the organization you see the good, the bad and the ugly," he said.
"This is really a highlight for anybody to be able to do this."
Hawkes said hearing the stories adds to his faith in humanity.
"It's not just police officers doing their job, which is very, very important, but members of the community who risk their own lives to save someone else's life, that is remarkable," he said.
"That's what humanity is all about."
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