— By CHRISTIN COYNE
When he saw his 2-year-old sister in danger after jumping into the family pool, 8-year-old Ethan Walters didn’t hesitate.
The Weatherford boy was enjoying a day in the water with his family in summer 2011 when his youngest sister, Heidi, who didn’t know how to swim at the time, took a leap into the middle of the pool.
His actions in helping rescue his sister that afternoon were recognized last month when local Boy Scout leaders presented him with a heroism award from the Boy Scouts of America in front of his peers.
The family had reportedly gathered outside the pool for popsicles on the summer day. Though her floaties had been removed for snack time, Heidi decided she wanted to get back in the water, her parents said.
“All of a sudden someone yelled, Heidi’s in the pool,” Ethan’s mother, Melissa Walters, said. “But she didn’t have her water wings on. And luckily Ethan was in the pool, too.”
“He swam right over to her,” Walters said. “He was underwater, pushing her up, so her face was out of the water, and he was swimming her to the side of the pool.”
Ethan Walters, who had had no lifesaving training at that point, said he didn’t think about what he did, he just did it.
The adults, who were about 20 feet away, came running at that point and helped the girl out of the water.
“He pulled himself over to the step and he was coughing and sputtering water and he said, ‘I almost drowned myself trying to save Heidi,’” Melissa Walters said.
They were “all just astonished,” his mother said.
His parents said they were proud of how their son kept a cool head in a potential bad situation.
“Sometimes you see adults in similar situations hesitate,” Ethan’s father, Jared Walters said.
Ethan Walters, now 9 years old and currently a Webelo Cub Scout with two local packs, including Pack 270 at Mary Martin Elementary, has been involved with cub scouts for four years.
His den leader, Cara White, who learned about the incident from Walter’s mother, initiated the year-long process to obtain recognition for the fourth grader’s efforts.
They’d given up on it when the family finally got the good news in December.
“I’m thrilled to death he got [the award],” White said. “It was a big deal.”
Last year, just 155 scouts across the nation received the award for saving or attempting to save a life at minimum risk to self, according to the Boy Scouts website.
“[Walter] embodies what you want a scout to be,” White said, adding that he is very polite, works hard, pays attention and has fun.
“He’s just the sweetest kid on the face of the earth,” White said.