Teen honored with ‘Everyday Hero Medal’ after saving 2-year-old from drowning


OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – An Edmond teenager who helped save a 2-year-old from drowning at Scissortail Park last month was honored with a medal from EMSA recently.

Late last month, Edmond Santa Fe senior Tanner Dutton was relaxing at the park when it turned into a rescue mission.

“I’m just blessed I could be there to save their child. I don’t know how to put it into words,” said Dutton. 

He was there with his siblings, packing up ready to leave when he noticed something unusual. 

“We noticed some kid who at first we thought he was swimming just in the pond,” said Dutton. “Then we noticed he was struggling a little bit so after we ran up closer, we noticed he was drowning.” 

Dutton jumped right into action. 

“I just dropped my keys, my wallet, and my phone and took off my shoes and jumped right in,” he said.

The boy in the water was 2-year-old Jeremiah who was there with his family. 

His mom says her son went to the bathroom with a family friend. 

She says she looked away at her other baby for one second, when her worst nightmare happened. 

“I was looking at him while I was breastfeeding her, and by the time I looked up, he was just gone, it happened so fast,” said Jeremiah’s mom, Anessa Wheagar. 

Wheagar panicked. 

“I didn’t even know what to think I was just ashamed of myself,” she said. 

Luckily, Dutton found him in the water and was able to save him. 

“What if Tanner wasn’t nearby? What if he didn’t have the conscience to jump in that water? He didn’t even think about his life,” said Wheagar. 

Dutton suffered some minor face injuries, and had to get staples in his head. 

His main focus the entire time was Jeremiah. 

“I didn’t think about it for a second, there was a kid in trouble and I just happened to be the closest person there,” said Dutton. 

Dutton’s mom later head about the rescue. 

“I’m not surprised, that is Tanner, him doing that, he’s a very selfless child ever since he was a toddler I’ve told him, ‘I think you’re going to do something great,’” said his mom, Kelli Leek. 

Also adding, accidents can happen. 

“I don’t want anybody to say, ‘oh, what was the mom doing?’ She was being a mom … you know, we’ve all been there, it takes a half a second,” said Leek. “Accidents happen all the time and Tanner just happened to be in the right place at the right time and saved that little boy.”

Dutton is just grateful he could help. 

“I’ve been on this earth 17 years, he’s only been on it 23 months… so I’d do it again… 100%,” he said. 

Jeremiah was exhausted when he got out of the water, sustaining injuries to the side of his face, but was OK.

Scissortail park staff sent KFOR this statement: 

“On the evening of Wednesday, June 24, a child was playing in the Scissortail Park fountains with family members. At approximately 5:30pm, the nearly 3-year old child ran from the splash pad to the nearby lake and jumped into water in the safety zone area. This area of the man-made lake consists of a 10-foot expansive ledge where the water measures no deeper than 24 inches around the entire perimeter. An observant young man named Tanner saw the child jump into the water and thankfully went in to assist. Both Tanner and the child emerged safely. Tanner sustained a number of abrasions that were treated that evening.”

They also sent a safety video, with tips on best practices at the park. 

It can be viewed here.

Meanwhile, Dutton was honored for his heroic actions last week.

On July 1, EMSA medics presented Dutton with an “Everyday Hero Medal.”

A brief ceremony was held to honor Dutton, with Jeremiah and his mom in attendance at the pond.

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