FRANKLIN CO. (WSIL) — Deputies Brice Shaffer and Nicholas Sullivan were honored May 9 for saving a young woman this winter from turbulent and freezing waters at the Rend Lake Spillway.
Shaffer, who’s been a deputy for eight years, humbly accepted lifesaving certificates and medals from the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police.
While, Sullivan’s parents did the same on his behalf, as he’s currently deployed to Texas where he’s training for the Air Force.
Shaffer says it’s a call that he’ll never forget. It was around 1 a.m. on February 21 that the he and Sullivan responded to reports of a possibly suicidal woman.
"It’s actually a pretty common call," Shaffer explains. "I’ve never seen anybody actually do it until she came along."
When the deputies arrived on scene, Shaffer recognized the woman, who’s in her early 20s, from previous calls.
"I called her name again told her don’t do it, and she just jumped right in. The current was starting to get her, drag her under," Shaffer recalls.
That’s when the deputies jumped into the ice cold water to saver her. "When it hit me, I’ve never felt anything like it. It took all the air, all the breath out of my lungs," he remembers.
Within minutes, Sullivan and Shaffer were able to pull the woman out of the water. She was unconscious, so Sullivan performed CPR.
The woman was then transported to a local hospital, and the deputies went home to change into warm, dry clothes and finish up their shift.
Family say they’re impressed with the deputies lifesaving work, but have a little advice. "I told him (Nicholas) and Brice both they did great, but don’t do it again," laughs Mike Sullivan, Nicholas’ father.
Officials with the Illinois Fraternal Order of Police say the woman would not be alive if the deputies hadn’t jumped in to save her.