Bainbridge College student saves a life and wins award - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bainbridge College student saves a life and wins award

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December 21, 2006

Bainbridge-- 21 year old Douglas Harrell's spring vacation from Bainbridge College last year began as just a fun trip for he and his friends.   But before he knew it, he became a hero.

They were relaxing on a beach when they noticed a man struggling in the water. Two off-duty lifeguards jumped in, but were unable to help the man. Harrell then jumped in the water and pulled the man to safety.

The Kiwanis Club honored that heroic act today.  As Harrell accepted the international award today for saving the man's life, he said he was humbled.  "I never thought in my wildest dreams it would ever turn into something like this, such a big deal. I was just doing what I thought anyone would do for somebody," says Harrell.

But not everyone would have that kind of courage, and that's what the Bainbridge Kiwanis club is here today to recognize.  "It's always good to recognize people who care for others enough, to even risk one's own life to save someone else's life," says Ray Chambers, secretary of the Bainbridge Kiwanis Club and the man who nominated Harrell.

Harrell's act of bravery follows in the footsteps of Robert P. Connelly, the man the award is named for.  "He was a Kiwanian and he gave his own life to try to save another young girl," says Kiwanis Club past president Amanda Glover.  

It's one of the Kiwanis club's most prestigious awards. Only 13 other people in the world received it this year. And Harrell is the first in Southwest Georgia ever to get it. 

Harrell credits his eagle and boy scout training in rescuing the man who's name he never even found out. He did learn one thing about him.  "One of his buddy's comes, in tears and gives me a hug and says, you just saved a soldiers life," says Harrell.  He learned the man returned to Iraq just days after the near drowning.

Harrell insists others can be heroes too. His advice?  "Just jump in and you'll be fine."

As part of the award, Harrell was given a 5 hundred dollar savings bond.

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