A Stamford lifeguard was honored today for saving a 16-year-old boy from drowning at Cummings Beach earlier this month.
Nineteen-year-old Brenda Morataya was recognized by Mayor David Martin and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal for her courageous act.
"We salute your bravery, courage and service to others. On behalf of the city of Stamford -- our best wishes. Thank you," said Stamford Mayor David Martin.
Thinking back to that day, Morataya says she saw the teen standing with his brother and a friend in the water. Then, high tide was coming in.
"Before you know it, I see him bobbing up and down and I didn't know if he was playing around at first. Even if you are playing around, we always go in for a rescue, even if they think it's a joke, because it's not a joking matter at all," said Brenda Morataya.
She rescued him from the water, she says, staying calm.
"It's actually horrible for the victim to see us panicking because they're going to panic even more, thinking we don't have the situation under control, but in reality we do," said Morataya.
This morning, she was honored along with other city lifeguards for their dedicated service. There were 34 total looking after Stamford's pool and beaches this year.
"She brought to bear the training, the preparation she'd receive, that all of you received, and I know all of you would demonstrate the same courage, strength and skill," said U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal.
Morataya has served as a lifeguard for three years, but this was her first in Stamford. She's going to school for business administration, with aspirations of becoming a prosecutor, and says she has a passion for serving others.