AP NEWS

Plains Twp. Man To Receive Medal Of Valor For Saving Young Boy

May 13, 2019

After a Plains Twp. correctional officer performed rescue breathing on a drowning boy last year, he was praised for his quick thinking and selflessness.

Now, the Department of Corrections has honored him with its Medal of Valor.

Shaun Skursky was vacationing in North Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, in March 2018 when he heard people yelling for help. A young boy had become trapped in an intake tube in a lazy river attraction.

He dove underwater to perform rescue breathing, hoping to supply him with oxygen.

More people came to help, and they eventually freed him from the water after the suction on the intake tube stopped.

“Shaun immediately jumped into the water and assessed the situation,” read the department’s Medal of Valor award. “He continued the rescue breathing for approximately eight minutes until police and emergency medical services responded and were able to free him. The young man lived thanks to Shaun’s extraordinary efforts.”

On April 8, the Department of Corrections honored Skursky at a recognition ceremony for employees from across the state. Along with Skursky, 16 other employees were recognized four outstanding performance, mentoring, innovations in correction and other exemplary work.

Skursky is a correctional officer at a SCI-Retreat, although he was an officer at SCI-Phoenix during the rescue. The work means he needs to be comfortable operating in stressful, potentially dangerous situations.

It also meant he was trained in CPR, although he had never performed underwater rescue breathing before the incident.

“I think that a lot of my training from the jail probably helped me in trying to rescue this boy, because we don’t have time to think about what we’re doing at the jail, we just have to do it,” he said shortly after the incident. “When I saw a little boy who needed help, I didn’t think about anything but trying to save this little boy’s life.”

That’s part of the mindset of correctional officers and first responders, Skursky said — they don’t give up until the job is done.

Contact the writer: bwellock@citizensvoice.com

570-821-2051, @CVBillW