MAYFIELD HEIGHTS, Ohio (WJW) – Painesville Police Sergeant Matthew Tycast and Officer Dan Thompson were honored at the 16th annual Heroes for Andy event for their heroic actions in June.
The Painesville police officers saved a 4-year-old boy who was drowning in a fishing pond. He made a full recovery but paramedics say had the boy been in the water 15 seconds longer he would be brain dead.
“I get to the edge and I don’t see anything but I see a couple bubbles so it draws my attention,” said Tycast. “But there’s all kind of debris and goose feathers. I start to see a little silhouette of a face and that moment that split second you have to go in.”
“It was save the boy,” said Thompson. “That was the only concern at that point.”
The officers didn’t hesitate to run into the water. Even Tycast, who says he doesn’t know how to swim.
“There was no hesitation,” Tycast said. “No time to react, no time to think. You see what you have to do and you go do it.”
Saturday’s event is in memory of Andy Nowacki from South Euclid. He was a police officer and a marine. Nowacki was killed in 2005 by a roadside bomb while protecting a truck convoy. He died three weeks before he was supposed to come home.
“Most people are not aware that first responders and military, their main purpose is to protect people and make people safe,” said Sheila Nowacki, Andy’s mother.
The annual Heroes for Andy event does more than just honor heroes. It also provides scholarships to students wanting to go into public safety.
“We thought one of the best ways to have his legacy live on was to award scholarships to those who have the same compassion for the community as he did,” said Nowacki.
So now the younger generation can train to be the next round of heroes.
“It’s the greatest profession,” said Tycast. “No day is the same. I love waking up and going to work every day.”
“Most of your career you’re telling people they’re doing something wrong and giving tickets but there are handful of times where you truly do something amazing that make 20 years worth it,” added Thompson.