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Thanks to five Redstone lifeguards, a Huntsville boy will see his 9th birthday next year.

“They saved a life,” Gaylene Wilson, sports, fitness and aquatics director for Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, said.

The boy was a guest at the Vincent Park pool on his 8th birthday June 19. He couldn’t swim so he was wearing a life jacket. But about 1:15 p.m., he removed the life jacket and entered the water.

Soon he was submerged and in danger. Christina Bray and Austin Nash were the two lifeguards on the stand.

“I saw him lying in the water and I counted about 5-10 seconds and then I blew the whistle,” Bray, 15, said.

She jumped into the water. Two women bystanders carried the boy out; and Bray told them to put him down.

“I did about three chest compressions but they weren’t really forceful,” she said. The boy, whose lips had turned blue, regained consciousness within about 10 seconds after she opened his windpipe.

Lifeguard Kayla Luechtefeld, 21, had just gotten off the phone with aquatics manager Jon Pierce. When she saw the boy wasn’t moving, she called 911. Lifeguard Matt Warren, 19, grabbed the bag valve mask. And lifeguard Josh McManus got the automated external defibrillator.

The paramedics arrived and transported the boy to the Huntsville Hospital for Women and Children where he was kept a few hours for observation.

Bray, Nash, Luechtefeld, Warren and McManus were recognized Thursday with Certificates of Appreciation from the Garrison’s Safety and Risk Management Office, signed by safety manager Michael Moore.

“We just wanted to tell them: Job well done,” safety specialist Je’Neen Russell said. “I just cannot tell you how grateful we are. Because of (their actions) that little boy’s home playing and we really appreciate that.”

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