OKALOOSA COUNTY, Fla. (WALA) - The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office presents Citizen Awards to two teenagers in town on spring break. Deputies said the night of Sunday, March 31, they helped an elderly man with dementia who had gone missing.
"You hear in the news a lot about our young spring breakers who are down, creating havoc, but these young people did a positive thing," said Sheriff Larry Ashley presenting the awards.
As some proud parents watched on, capturing the moment, Lindsay West, 15, and 16-year-old Gabby Brough of Indiana were given certificates of commendation.
"It is an honor," said Brough's mother Michelle Moon. "It just makes my heart bubble. I am just so happy and proud of the both of them. It's a wonderful feeling any parent, or even as an adult, would know that two young children would want to help an elderly person."
Flashback to Sunday night, the teens are on the beach near their condo Pelican Isle.
Deputies searched for 85-year-old John Kirwan, a local. His family panicked, he'd been missing for hours.
Then he was approached by West and Brough, who contacted Moon to alert the sheriff's office.
Deputies say Kirwan suffers from dementia, and while other people were passing him by, paying him no mind, the girls took the time to help him. And it was that compassion that was honored Wednesday night at the sheriff's office substation in Destin.
"We didn't think it was really a big deal," Brough said. "We were just helping out- what we think everybody should've done."
They're refreshing, humble words to hear from a young person doing the right thing.
Sergeant Matthew Harrison was working the search.
"The family was overjoyed to find him, because obviously he does experience some dementia and so they were happy that he came back and he was okay and that they're search was over for him," Sgt. Harrison said.
Sheriff Ashley was honored to present the awards.
"Our kids are good kids, and they do the right thing for the right reason, and we just wanted to recognize those folks for doing that," Ashley said.
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