Students receive good Samaritan certificates in Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA − Capt. Meredith Austin, commander of Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, is shown with James Konopka and Nick Mead, students from the Episcopal Academy in Newton Square, Pa., after they were presented a good Samaritan certificate here Feb. 15, 2012. The students received the certificates for rescuing two fellow competitors during the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta rowing race Oct. 30, 2011. U.S. Coast Guard photo by Lt. j.g. Veronica Smith.

Post by Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia.

Two students from Episcopal Academy in Newtown Square, Pa., set out to accomplish a goal during their Under-17 doubles race at the Head of the Schuylkill Regatta Oct. 30, 2011, but accomplished so much more.

In a ceremony Feb. 15 at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay in Philadelphia, Capt. Meredith Austin awarded good Samaritan certificates to academy rowers James Konopka and Nick Mead for their efforts in the rescue of two fellow competitors during the regatta. After a promising start in the race, they noticed two opponents calling for help and struggling to stay afloat after their boat capsized in the river. Without hesitation, they abandoned the race and assisted in the rescue of the capsized rowers.

Konopka and Mead waited with their fellow competitors until a safety launch arrived on scene and removed them from the frigid 45 degree water, ensuring both rowers were out of danger before they went on to finish the race. Their keen observation, immediate response and actions ensured their opponents’ safe return to loved ones and demonstrated true sportsmanship.

Konopka and Mead where joined by Konopka’s parents and coach while Austin presented them with the certificates highlighting their unselfish actions.

“As a service committed to the safety of those on the water, the Coast Guard is happy to recognize James and Nick for their actions and regard for others,” said Lt. Andrew Madjeska, public affairs officer at Coast Guard Sector Delaware Bay.

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