Teen who saved victim from drowning honored by Coast Guard: ‘You inspire me’


GRAND RIVER, Ohio (WJW) — An Ohio teen was honored by the U.S. Coast Guard Tuesday after he rescued another teen in Lake Erie last year.

Shane Morrison was awarded a Silver Lifesaving Medal, one of the highest honors that the Coast Guard can bestow on a person. He’s also one of the youngest individuals to receive it.

In June 2020, Donovan Conwell jumped into the water while with friends at Mentor and began to struggle.

Morrison was also hanging out with friends nearby and saw Conwell struggling in the water, so he jumped in and told his friends to call 911. Morrison swam 50 yards in 6-foot waves to reach him.

“It was scary because I didn’t know if I could hold him up for that long,” Morrison recalled. “I knew that if someone didn’t come soon, I was going down with him or I couldn’t help him anymore.”

Morrison was able to keep Conwell afloat for several minutes before a Coast Guard boat arrived. Conwell was slipping in and out of consciousness.

The Silver Lifesaving Medal is awarded to citizens of the United States, military or civilian, who rescue or endeavor to rescue any other person from drowning, shipwreck or other peril of the water in waters within the United States.

U.S Rep. David Joyce, who spoke at the ceremony, recognized Morrison’s actions as heading toward danger to help someone he didn’t even know.

Morrison also spoke at the ceremony and gave credit to his mom, who has raised him and his two other siblings most of his childhood as a single mom since his dad passed away years ago, teaching him that “tough love, hard work and lots of laughter can get you through almost everything in life.”

He also credits his school, St. Ignatius High School, which teaches “Men for others.”

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“There are moments like this that are small but can also be overlooked… One moment, one instant, one chance, one hesitation can be the difference between a life filled with memories of a person that means the world to you or an unfulfilled life that had all the potential of doing of great things slipped away because no one looked twice,” he said while giving credit to his friends for the rescue efforts that day.

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