Sheriff presents Hero Award to Bossier teen

By Nancy Cook |

Published 01/14 2014 06:05PM

Updated 01/14 2014 06:13PM

Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington presented the Bossier Sheriff’s Hero Award to 18-year-old Cameron Mattison during a ceremony Tuesday afternoon in the Bossier Parish Courthouse following the teen’s heroic actions in saving the life of grandfather during a recent boating accident.


In October, Cameron, a senior at Airline High School, was preparing for an upcoming fishing tournament at Lake Texomawith his father, Brett, and grandfather, Harry.  While they were scouting out different areas to fish, the weather changed suddenly with dipping temperatures and windy conditions. All three had life jackets on, as well as rain gear and layers of insulated clothing.


At one point, the outboard motor malfunctioned, and the boat went into a spin.  Cameron’s grandfather was thrown from the boat head first into the cold water.  Initially, he couldn’t be found, but he was eventually located some 30 yards away from the boat with his life jacket ripped off of his right side and barely on his left shoulder.  He was in trouble because he was grasping for breath, and with the multiple layers of clothing he had on, the water weight of the soaked clothes were pulling him down. 


“I had given up,” the 77-year-old grandfather recalled.  “I was under water, I could see the surface, but I couldn’t get there.”


Cameron saw that his grandfather needed immediate help and dove in the water, fully clothed and swam to his grandfather.


“Without hesitation, I jumped in and swam to him,” Cameron said.  The teen was treading water in his tennis shoes, and his life jacket had not inflated yet.  He was able to get his grandfather’s head up right, remove the hoodie from his head and jacket hood and put his arm under his left shoulder.  “I picked him up, got his face where it was clear so he could breathe, and started to swim back to the boat.” Cameron said.


The grandfather’s fright turned to comfort when “you feel these hands coming up under you and you can stick your head out of the water,” he said.  “I know everybody’s proud of their children in this kind of thing, but he stands real tall to me.”


Cameron’s grandfather went to the hospital to be checked, but did not require any medical treatment.


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