Matthew R. Ward saved Tyler Stefan from drowning, Westfield, New York, July 9, 2014. While playing in Lake Erie off a small beach, Tyler, 9, and a friend were carried by currents to an area of shore comprising steep cliffs. As they attempted to scale one of the cliffs to safety, Tyler fell back into the water, which was rough with waves reaching from three to five feet in height. Tyler’s friend ran for help as Tyler was swept back out into the lake. Ward, 22, managerial assistant, who lived in the vicinity, was alerted to the situation by first responders. After he spotted Tyler floating on his back far into the lake, he made his way down the cliff to the waterline and then entered the water, as no boats were immediately available. The waves presented difficulty for Ward as he swam about 400 feet to reach Tyler. Ward grasped Tyler, who was barely conscious, and side stroked back toward shore, growing increasingly tired. As he approached, others helped him remove Tyler from the lake. Tyler was taken to the hospital for treatment. Ward was nearly exhausted after the rescue, and he recovered.
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