PARKER, Colo. (CBS4)– A 13-year-old student at Sagewood Middle School was credited as being a hero on Thursday, by the woman who he saved. Zach Curnutt jumped in to a community swimming pool and rescued his neighbor, Courtney Jackson, after she was briefly paralyzed under water.
“He is my hero, he saved me,” Jackson told CBS4’s Dillon Thomas.
Jackson, 21, admitted she dove in to a 3-foot-deep pool, despite signs around the pool warning of the danger. Her head hit the cement and compacted her spine.
“I was paralyzed on impact,” Jackson said.
Luckily, her neighbor Curnutt was nearby. He noticed she was floating face down in the pool for an extended period of time.
Jackson recalled being able to hear people rushing to her, without the ability to move to help herself. She held her breath until Curnutt arrived.
“It’s very terrifying,” Jackson said.
“I was scared as well as confused,” Curnutt said. “I realized something wasn’t right and I dove in.”
“The first thing he said was, ‘She’s bleeding, she’s bleeding.’ Because, my face was covered in blood,” Jackson said. “He was the one who flipped me over and pulled me out of the pool.”
Because of his actions, Jackson and South Metro Firefighters and Paramedics gathered at Curnutt’s school to surprise him with an award. He walked in to class with a blank face to the applause.
“(I was) surprised and happy,” Curnutt said. “I was confused of why everybody was just standing in the room.”
Jackson said the award was the least Curnutt deserved for making sure she did not drown.
“He is just the biggest-hearted person I have ever met,” Jackson said. “Zachary pretty much saved my life.”
Jackson was treated in the hospital, and continues recovery. She has regained her ability to walk. However, she still has some issues with feeling in her hands.
Curnutt hopes to be a firefighter, or paramedic, one day. While some joked he already had quite the resume, he argued he was just being himself.
“I was doing what I would normally do in any situation. Even if it wasn’t my neighbor,” Curnutt said.