Officials in Coral Springs, Florida, on Feb. 25, kicked off the installation of more than 70 rescue life rings near bodies of water in city parks in honor of Carnegie Hero Aden Spencer Perry.
Last April, Aden, 17, drowned while attempting to save the teen driver of a car that entered a lake in Sunrise, Florida, which neighbors Coral Springs. Aden was walking his dog with his mother when they witnessed the car enter the water and drift to a point about 40 feet from the bank where water was 25 feet deep. The driver, 18, exited his car and called for help. Aden called 911, handed the phone to his mother, and entered the water. Aden, the driver, and the car submerged. Police divers located Aden and the driver and removed them from the water. They had drowned.
Shortly after his death, Aden’s parents, Sarah and Alan Perry, established the Aden Perry Good Samaritan and Scholarship Fund, which raised more than $141,000 through Go Fund Me. Now a 501(c)3, the fund has raised a total of about $200,000 so far, according to Sarah Perry.
“It is our hope that this fund will allow Aden to continue being a hero and share his kindness with others in need on their educational journeys,” the GoFundMe stated.
It is through a partnership with Aden’s fund that Coral Springs can install the rescue rings in city parks, “both as a safety enhancement and to honor the memory of … heroic teen Aden Perry,” stated a press release announcing the installation.
The stations will include a Coast Guard-regulated rescue ring attached to a rope. Bystanders can then throw the rescue ring out to anyone struggling in a water emergency, without needing to enter the water themselves.
“Since my son’s drowning, there have been several more deaths in area lakes and ponds. Just last week two more teens died,” Sarah Perry said. “This needs to stop.”
To honor Aden’s memory, most rescue rings will feature a photo of Aden and a quote, “A hero is a person of distinguished courage and ability, admired for their brave deeds and noble qualities in spite overwhelming obstacles.”
“I feel it is my duty to carry on his memory, and something so simple as placing rescue rings near water is my way of keeping his legacy alive,” Sarah Perry said. “I really feel that one day we are going to save a life.”
Coral Springs City Manager Frank Babinec agreed.
“If the rescue rings help just one person, then it is worth doing,” he said.
Coral Springs is the first Florida city to partner with the Aden Perry fund.
“My goal is to go city by city and get these rings donated and installed,” Perry said. “I would like this to be a statewide mandate.”
Aden’s fund has also provided more than 100 scholarships for SAT prep, books, and testing, donated more than 1,000 school supplies to area schools and will be providing scholarships to kids going to college, Sarah Perry said.
Applicants for the college fund must show that they performed an act of kindness and respond to an essay prompt asking what a hero is to them.
“My son wanted to be a doctor,” Sarah Perry said. “My hope is that sending these kids to school will enable one of them to become a doctor.”