- Five teens form a human chain to rescue two siblings who crashed into a frozen pond.
- The teens did not accept offers of money or ride for a deed they hoped would also be given to them when needed.
- Their high school and town are planning ceremonies to honor the hero teenagers in the next few weeks.
It would really be a memorable first time sledding for Olivia and RJ Irlbeck. They crashed into a frozen pond and had to be rescued by a group of teenagers who did not hesitate in saving them.
The rescuers also did not accept any money or the offer of a ride home.
Stephanie Irlbeck and Rich Heid, recalled that the first sled trip went without a hitch. On the second trip, the kids’ sled hit a patch of ice and spun backward which sent them crashing onto a nearby pond.
Stephanie said, “They landed about seven feet into it [and] broke through the ice immediately. Because they were on one of the inflatable sleds, it kinda floated for a second.”
Fortunately, when they called for help, a group of five freshmen at Middletown High School North were also in the area to sled when the kids came crashing to the pond. Kiernan Foley, 14, Joseph Dietrich, 14, Drew Scalice, 14, Ryan Day, 15, and Tyler Armagan, 14, immediately went into action.
One of the rescuers, Foley, said “I didn’t see anyone else be able to do anything, so I just jumped in. I was like, whatever. It wasn’t deep so I could walk right over to them. I picked them up and my friends formed a chain and we got the boy first, and handed him to my friends. Then I got the girl.”
Upon reaching land, the little boy RJ began to cry. He does not know how to swim. Even with the pond at 3-5 feet deep, it would still be over RJ’s head, according to Day. RJ was comforted by Day by asking what he wanted for Christmas.
Another rescuer, Scalice, said “We really thought, or hoped, anyone would do the same for us, or anyone. I mean, we were kinda brought up that way, to help if someone needs help.” Spoken like the boy scout that he is.
Stephanie’s husband gave Foley his pants and boots as Foley lost one of his boots in the mud.
Stephanie said of the teen heroes, “They were insanely humble. They didn’t want anything, they just wanted to make sure my kids were OK. They kept saying to my kids, ‘You’re safe now. You’re going to get a hot chocolate and a warm bath at home.’”
But their school and town are not letting things go. They will be honoring the young rescuers in ceremonies in the next few weeks.