E. Fel deputy helps save drowning 7-yr-old in FL. while on vacation

From left: Scott Rowe, Sal Silverman and Kevin Garig.

Even when members of law enforcement aren’t on duty, it seems they’re never officially off.

East Feliciana Sheriff’s Lt. & chief of detectives Kevin Garig was on vacation in Destin, Florida, when he heard a mom screaming for help on the beach.

The mom’s 7-yr-old child was caught in a rip current and was pleading with anyone nearby to call 9-1-1. Garig said his trained instincts kicked in.

“We were just hanging out on the beach when the mom came over asking someone to call 9-1-1,” Garig recalled. “We had these people from Nashville we were hanging out with and I assigned a 17-year-old to dial 9-1-1. We went out into the water. It was really hard to see her. There was another guy who went to get her and as we got closer, he passed her to us.”

Garig said Destin Fire and Rescue responded quickly to the incident. The young girl went underwater but wasn’t unconscious.

“The crazy thing was that the 7-yr-old had no concept of what was going on,” Garig said. “Everyone around her was upset and worried but she was fine.”

Garig said he didn’t realize he had entered the water until he was walking back to the beach with the little girl.

“I just did what I normally do every day,” he said. “I guess all the training kicked in.”

The deputy said the child’s mother having the awareness to call for help instead of putting herself in danger was a big factor in the situation turning out a success.

“It’s important for people to know how to handle these types of situations,” Garig said. “If the mom would’ve just panicked and just went out there, we could’ve been talking about something totally different. There may have been two victims in the water. It’s just knowing to call people who can help you.”

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