MOUNT CLEMENS, Mich. (WJBK) - Two Clinton Township men were honored Monday night with a national award for saving the life of a drowning toddler. Sadly, one of them was honored posthumously, though. He died rescuing the child from the Clinton River.
Anthony Traylor accepted and received The Carnegie Medal on behalf of his brother Joshua. The 24-year-old gave his life trying to rescue his girlfriend's 3-year-old son who had fallen into the river. A fast-moving current swept the boy away then pulled him under. Joshua was overwhelmed and then overcome by the current.
"I just jumped in and I got the kid," said Ron Elko. "I held him up like this. I may not get out of here but somebody's going to get this kid." He was also awarded The Carnegie Medal for getting the boy to safety.
The medal is now a bittersweet reminder of the life saved - and the one lost.
"That's what gets me, I lost a lot of sleep over that. Wondering why," Elko admitted. We asked him if he would still jump in the river again.
"Yeah, absolutely," said Elko.
His family believes Joshua still would, too.
"One of his tattoos was, 'I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me,' and he lived through it. He lived it," his brother said. "So it wasn't just a tattoo. It actually something he was living."
The Carnegie Medal, named after the billionaire philanthropist, is awarded to people who risk their lives to save others. The latest recipients are picture perfect examples that not all heroes wear uniforms.