ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH, Fla. – Two police officers and two average citizens were honored for their roles in saving a man’s life during Hurricane Matthew.
The ceremony was held at Monday night’s St. Augustine Beach City Commission meeting.
In all the stories that came out of Hurricane Matthew, this is one most of us never heard about: Those four men made a split-second decision that many now say saved an elderly man’s life.
Cmdr. Lee Ashlock and Officer Bruce Klein, of the St. Augustine Beach Police Department, were recognized with a plaque for their acts of heroism.
"In times like these, all the bad is always brought out. All the bad stuff is always there, but when something good happens, a lot of times that's never brought to light," Orange Park Police Chief Gary Goble said. "And now we know if these officers do this each and every day."
The two moved in when almost no law enforcement officers were left on the island. Jonathan Drake and another complete stranger, Robby Hazouri, were working to free an elderly man from his truck, which was sinking in rapidly rising floodwaters as the man went into cardiac arrest.
Drake was also honored Monday night for doing something he said he wouldn’t think twice about doing again.
"It wasn't until it was actually over and the officers arrived and I got them escorted, I got back in my car, soaking wet. My flip-flop was broken, and I kind of stopped and took a deep breath and I was,like, 'Whoa! That just happened! Like, this really just took place,'" Drake said.
Drake said the whole situation took some time to process. But there’s a happy ending. The man they rescued from inside the truck survived and is now feeling better.
Hazouri was not at the ceremony.