COBB COUNTY, Ga. - It was a daring and dangerous rescue at a Georgia park. Thursday night, a Cobb County firefighter was honored for his heroic actions when he went into a raging river to save a young man.
"It was terrifying, it was overwhelming," said Cobb County Firefighter Rusty Brown.
Last October, two brothers, James and Christian Burdette, were at High Falls State Park in Monroe County. They were walking along the rocks when they got swept over the waterfalls into the river. Cobb County Firefighter Rusty Brown responded. From a helicopter, Brown was lowered down into the river. The rapids were rough. The water was ice cold. Brown saw 17-year-old, James, by the 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," said Brown.
Brown's rope got wrapped around his own neck and his leg. With water rushing around him, he tried to stay focused.
"I was talking to myself saying stay calm, and the victim said 'Yes sir' I said ‘Shh! I'm talking to myself!" said Brown.
Brown was able to untangle the rope from his neck and signal to the helicopter pilot to pull them out.
"I told him OK and to get us up as fast as he can," said Brown.
James's younger brother did not make it. Brown said by the grace of God he and James survived. Thursday night, Brown was given the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions. It's an award the fire department very rarely hands out.
"It's humbling. It's nice, but anyone of us would have done it," said Brown.
Brown will also receive national recognition for his action in April.