Ga. firefighter receives Medal of Honor for river rescue

Cobb County firefighter Rusty Brown was honored for jumping into a raging river to save 17-year-old James Burdette

By FireRescue1 Staff

COBB COUNTY, Ga. — A firefighter was awarded the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in saving a teen from a raging river.

FOX5 Atlanta reported that Cobb County firefighter Rusty Brown was honored with the award for saving James Burdette, 17, after he and his brother got swept into the river by waterfalls at High Falls State Park last October.

Brown was lowered into the ice cold river by a helicopter and spotted Burdette by a waterfall.

"I got the strap on him and as soon as I got it on him and clipped to me, we both got washed out and then I could see he was underwater," Brown said.

Brown said he became stuck in his rope when it strapped around his neck and leg, but maintained his focus on the rescue.

"I was talking to myself saying stay calm, and the victim said 'Yes sir' I said ‘Shh! I'm talking to myself!'"

Brown pulled himself free of his rope and signaled the helicopter to bring them both to safety.

Burdette’s brother, Christian, died in the incident, and Brown said it was by the grace of God that he and Burdette survived.

"It's humbling. It's nice, but anyone of us would have done it," Brown said upon receiving the award.

Brown is also set to be recognized nationally for the rescue in April.



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