FORT MORGAN, Ala. (WALA)-- Donte Reed had been working on the beach in Fort Morgan for less than a month when the Chicago native's summer job took a dramatic turn.

The 19-year-old beach attendant dove into the Gulf to save two people struggling in the rough waters.

Law enforcement procession honors Baldwin County Deputy Bill Smith

“I was going out there making sure I could help whenever I could. I felt like I could help.”

Not realizing one of them was deputy Sydney Wentworth rescuing a swimmer in distress.

“The closer I got to them, I felt like I was getting closer but in reality I was getting further.”

Reed says the rip current made it harder and harder to reach them.

As they got closer to shore he knew he was in trouble, feeling himself drowning, help coming in the form of Deputy Bill Smith.

“I didn't know how much more I was gonna be able to fight. I saw Deputy Smith come towards me and he had the buoy and he told me to grab on and I grabbed on and we were attempting to swim to shore, but the waves were strong and the tides were even stronger.”

The rips pulling both of them under as they fought to keep their heads above water.

 After a while he could see Deputy Smith was no longer fighting.

“I was just holding onto the buoy and making sure he was holding on too and I attempted to swim him to shore as well.”

Deputy Smith saving Reed’s life, before losing his own.

“I'm very grateful for Deputy Smith. without him I wouldn't be here honestly.”

Reed says because of Deputy Smith he has a second chance at life now. 

He says he will always remember the sacrifice he made for him.


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