Wilson County teens help save 3 people, 2 dogs during Hickman County flooding

Wilson County teens save lives during flooding
Posted at 6:22 AM, Aug 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-30 07:48:25-04

HICKMAN COUNTY, Tenn. (WTVF) — When Navy Junior ROTC cadets Alec Jakalski and Jacob Armistead went camping in Hickman County last weekend, they had no clue they'd be saving lives.

"My dad woke up with the flood alert going off on his phone," said Alec, "and we open the door to our camper and there's water up to the second step already, which is about two feet high."

Soon after the boys saw a woman clinging to a tree across the campground, begging for help. After other men struggled to rescue her, the two boys jumped into action.

"So me and Jacob run out in the water and link arms and link arms with them and start pulling them to shore," said Alec.

When they safely brought her to shore, another couple was swept away.

"They were rapidly being thrown down and Alec and I we just kind of looked at each other," said Jacob. "So I grabbed the woman and I managed to grab a tree that we were running by and used my momentum to swing her further into shore a little bit, and there were two men there who grabbed her and helped pull her out."

Meanwhile, Alec and his dad searched for her husband. "He was going passed and I reached out my arm and he grabbed it and I threw him to shore into my dad and then grabbed the dog because he started letting go of the dog."

The boys said it was their leadership and communication training that helped save lives.

"We just did it because we knew we could," said Alec. "We knew we had the skills in order to save people, so why not use them?"

They were recently given the most prestigious NJROTC award for their heroism, but they said it's a testament to their training.

"The award more represents a victory for the programs, a success for the programs, instead of a victory or a success for me because I was doing what I was enabled to do," said Jacob.