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Emerald Isle honors surfers for water rescues this past summer

(WITN)
Published: Nov. 12, 2019 at 10:14 PM EST
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Emerald Isle is recognizing seven surfers who helped distressed swimmers at the beach this summer.

The town's board of commissioners honored them at a meeting Tuesday night.

Alex Lewis was one of them and recalls jumping into action, saying, "I heard a bunch of shouting. It's a scary sight, you know you look down and you see a pair of hands in the water."

Fellow surfer Mike Conner said, "We got there just in time."

Lewis and Conner were honored, along with Jacob Price, Peyton Weist, Luke Brooks, Rick Scott, and Eric Zaleski. They were all presented with a certificate of appreciation.

The recognition comes after four drownings at the town's beaches this season, most in the spring before lifeguards went on duty for the summer.

Emerald Isle resident Susie Van Guilder says, "The numbers would have been much higher had the surfers not stepped up every time without even thinking twice."

Van Guilder led the effort to get these surfers recognized. She was also honored for her work to promote ocean safety.

She also raised $6,000 for those surfers as a thank you for their rescues this summer and plans to continue to advocate for ocean safety and rip current awareness throughout next year's beach season.