Police officers in Aurora, Illinois, and a good Samaritan were recently honored for saving a young boy who fell into an icy pond in November.
Aurora city leaders acknowledged the heroism and teamwork of the first responders and the mom who helped save the 9-year-old boy that day.
According to officials, on the day before Thanksgiving, 9-year-old Tyshaun LaFlore walked onto the ice of a frozen pond to retrieve a football but was unaware of the thinness of the ice.
He then fell through.
Neighbor Shannon O’Neal was preparing for the holiday at her home nearby when her son told her what happened.
“My son came into the house like ‘a boy fell through the pond,’ and I just took off running,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal said she didn’t hesitate to jump into the icy pond.
“I saw his brother tied to a string or rope because he was trying to go out there and get his brother. Just seeing the fear in everybody’s eyes, I just jumped in,” she recalled.
O’Neal kept Tyshaun afloat in the freezing water and comforted him as they waited for police to arrive.
Six Aurora police officers then came to the rescue. Body camera footage released by the department showed two officers jumping into the water while others worked from shore to provide support.
Thankfully, everyone was rescued and there were no serious injuries that day. Two officers and Tyshaun were treated for minor injuries at a nearby hospital and later released.
“I’m blessed to have my son to spend a Christmas with him, to spend another holiday with him,” Tyshaun’s mother, Mary Wilkins, said after the incident.
“Their selflessness, their courage and their teamwork no doubt helped turned what could have been a tragic, very tragic incident into a wonderful story,” Police Chief Keith Cross said.
Nearly a month later, the city honored Tyshaun’s rescuers.
At the last city council meeting this year, O’Neal and the six officers were presented with the Mayor’s Award of Valor.
“On the day they saved this young man over here, they went above and beyond,” Mayor Richard Irvin said during the ceremony.
“Valor is a gift. Those having it never know for sure whether they have it until the test comes,” Aurora’s Chief Communications Officer Clayton Mohammad said.