Heroes who helped save man who fell from Ambassador Bridge honored

It has been more than six months since Spencer Baker fell 140 feet from the Ambassador Bridge while on the job and plunged into the Detroit River.

The people who saved the steelworker's life made a memory they won’t soon forget.

The US Coast Guard awarded the Captain David Dobbins Award to the members of the JW Westcott 2 and Bernita Flowers, her daughter Tionne George, and granddaughter Tionne.

"I feel so good in my heart, it's just like all over," said Flowers. "Like it just happened today. That feeling has come back, that feeling of helping save someone’s life."

She says had her daughter not asked to go to the park on July 12, who knows how long it would’ve taken to help Baker.

"We were like, ‘Oh my God, somebody has fallen. Let’s go ask for help,’" she said. "So we ran over, well she ran, I tried to run. I knew she was faster than me so I let her run ahead of me.  

"The moment we came to the door and (were) knocking on the door, they didn’t even get the door all the way open."

Captain Sam Buchanan was there.

"There’s a loud banging on the door (means) that somebody had fallen into the river," he said.  "We got the gentleman aboard, covered him up real good, and just got him back to shore as fast as possible."

Buchanan’s crew pulled Spencer Baker from the boat. It wasn’t the first time his crew saved someone.  In fact, they saved a fisherman from the river 10 days later on July 22.

"There were 81 lives lost in the Great Lakes during 2023, 81 lives," said Capt. Richard Armstrong. "Thank you Capt. Buchanan, Al Holland, Bernita Flowers, Tionne George, from preventing that number, that statistic from being 82 and 83."

"I was thinking on Christmas Day, I was thinking of him and how he’s home with his family," Buchanan said. "If I can be just a small part of that, that makes me happy."

FOX 2: "When you hear the word hero tossed out there what kind of emotions?"

"I just think of it as part of my human duty," he said. "I think everyone should feel the same way."

Buchanan will get back to work with his crew in late March, early April. It will be his 40th season on the Detroit River, and he says he’ll be ready to save another life if called upon.