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Eighth-Grade Hero Saves Boy From Drowning in Icy Pond

“I just kept thinking to myself, he’s going to fall in, he’s going to fall in,” Boy Scout recalls. “And then he fell in.”

Zac Thomas in his water safety gear for Boy Scouts | Credit: Angela Prusinski (slight edits made by Natalie Stevens)
Zac Thomas in his water safety gear for Boy Scouts | Credit: Angela Prusinski (slight edits made by Natalie Stevens)

Eighth-grader Zac Thomas doesn’t always pick his younger brother up from school at Fox Chase Elementary.

But on Jan. 14, Thomas grabbed his skateboard and made the half-mile trip to walk his fourth-grade brother, Ryan Prusinski, home.

And that decision may have saved a boy’s life.

While the brothers walked home, Thomas saw a boy climb the retaining wall that stands above one of the many retention ponds off of Washington. The boy, a fourth grader, jumped down from the wall and walked onto the icy pond.

“I just kept thinking to myself, he’s going to fall in, he’s going to fall in,” said Thomas. “And then he fell in.”

Thomas wasted no time rushing to the pond and pulling the fourth grader to safety.

Thomas, a boy scout with Oswego Troop 63, said he “didn’t really think about it,” but just knew “he had to help.”

And it was a good thing, too, because the water in the pond was deep enough that the boy couldn’t reach the bottom. And the boy couldn’t swim.

“He was very wet and cold and very panicked,” said Thomas’ mom, Angela Prusinski of what her son had described.

She said Thomas, after telling her about the rescue when he got home, didn’t think it was a big deal.

“And I said, if you weren’t there … that boy could have drowned.”

Due to the weather, not many students are walking home right now, she said, and no one else may have been in the area.

“No one else was there,” said Thomas, except his brother and the fourth-grade-boy’s sisters, who also do not know how to swim.

Prusinski said she has made her sons well aware to stay away from the retention ponds along their route. “Doesn’t matter if it’s spring or winter, you don’t go near that water,” she said.

That danger is one that isn’t talked about much, said Prusinski, who said she called Fox Chase’s principal about the incident.

“It’s really dangerous for the kids to be by those ponds in the neighborhood,” she said. “Parents need to talk to their kids about them.”

Thomas, who attends Thompson Junior High School, is just glad everything turned out all right.

“It wasn’t a big deal,” he said with a modest shrug. “I’m just glad he’s OK.”

Richard R January 16, 2014 at 02:52 AM
Wonderful news of this young mans unselfish act, saved that boys life. Great job Zac. You are a true hero.
momofmany January 16, 2014 at 07:52 AM
So glad you were there Zac! I hope the Boy Scouts recognize you for the hero you are.
TLC Carpet Floors and More, Inc. January 16, 2014 at 08:25 AM
Support your local Boy Scout of America chapter. Scouting builds youth into men.
GailR January 16, 2014 at 09:20 AM
Zac, you are a hero. I applaud you.
Evelyn Santiago January 16, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Glad to know that there are young men like Zac around. Kudos to his parents anf the Boy Scouts for grat training
Dori January 16, 2014 at 10:50 AM
Great job, Zac! You really are a hero and wonderful young man!
Meloni Wilde January 16, 2014 at 11:50 AM
That mama is doing something right!!! Well done, Zac! You're a model young man, and a wonderful example to your little brother! Bravo!
Astoria January 16, 2014 at 03:35 PM
What a brave young man. He could have seen the 4th grader walking on the ice and just kept walking home. But he realized it was a dangerous situation and kept his eye on the boy. You hear so many tragic endings in such scenarios, and thank God Zac was there. His family must be so proud, as is his community.
mama so b it January 16, 2014 at 04:49 PM
Zac....great job !...well done ! your a SUPER HERO
Scott Stevens January 16, 2014 at 07:19 PM
You never know when you can change a life forever. Thank you for being there and doing what you knew you had to do. Your actions should be applauded. You may not think it was a big deal, but as a parent of three kids, I just want to say thank you for being YOU!
melba toast January 16, 2014 at 07:34 PM
That's my friend I know him he lived by me
Walt Hines January 16, 2014 at 10:06 PM
High Five Zac!!!!
Charlie January 16, 2014 at 10:36 PM
Scout Law (& Slogan)! Of course you helped; nicely done Zac!
ayar January 17, 2014 at 12:47 PM
Well done, Zac ! to the Scoutmaster of his troop, PLEASE put him in for the lifesaving award - he's EARNED it. http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/LifesavingAward.pdf
ayar January 17, 2014 at 12:49 PM
or actually, pretty much anyone can fill out the form. Also attach this article to the email, it will help verify the story

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