ONLY ON 3: Soddy Daisy JROTC cadets awarded Medal of Heroism - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

ONLY ON 3: Soddy Daisy JROTC cadets awarded Medal of Heroism

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Photo courtesy Mac Pritchard/Dominick March Photo courtesy Mac Pritchard/Dominick March

UPDATE: The three teens credited with saving the life of a fellow JROTC Cadet were honored Wednesday.

Trever Heneger, Zachary Shankles and Ryan DesJarlais sprung into action when 14-year-old Andy Heneger got his foot trapped in rocks in the Chickamauga Creek near Montlake Road.

The cadets received the Medal of Heroism for their efforts.

The commendation reads:

  1. In accordance with paragraph 12-6 of Cadet Command Regulation 145-2, I highly recommend the above-named individuals for the Medal of Heroism. These individuals demonstrated remarkably quick thinking and uncommon courage to aid one of their fellow cadets who certainly would have died without their efforts.
  2. These individuals bravely dove into the whitewater of the North Chickamauga Creek to save their fellow cadet who was being held under the water by the force of the rushing water. The victim had gotten his foot entrapped under a rock and was unable to extricate himself or keep his head above water.
  3. Trever Henegar was initially the closest and dove under the rushing water and physically freed the entrapped foot. Zachary Shankles, who was little farther away also dove in the water and assisted Henegar to move the injured Cadet out of danger. Ryan DesJarlais was also nearby, rushed to assist when he heard what was going on. He called 911 and coordinated the rest of the rescue involving multiple agencies including park rangers and fire departments. During this period, he had to cross the raging river multiple times because the injured Cadet was on the opposite bank of the river. The rescue agencies were unable to get to the injured individual and had to set up a rope bridge to get him to safety.

PREVIOUS STORY: A 14-year-old Soddy-Daisy teen is alive thanks to the bravery of his brother and other friends who saved him from drowning. It happened on August 23, during a rainy week at Chickamauga Creek off Montlake Road. The creek had rushing water and the high schoolers knew the risk of jumping in, but they never knew they'd be seconds away from losing their friend to the creek's rapids.

Andy Heneger, 14, got his foot trapped under a rock and couldn't free himself or keep his head above the water.

"I went under water and I was screaming at the top of my lungs because it hurt so bad," Andy said.

That's when his older brother, 16-year-old Trever, dove under the rushing water to free his foot and bring his brother to safety.

"At first I thought it was just a joke but once I saw his face, I knew it was pretty serious," said Trever Henegar.

Zachary Shankles, 16, was also there and helped move Andy to safety.

Ryan DesJarlais, a 17-year-old Soddy-Daisy Senior, happened to be nearby and also rushed to help. He called 911 and helped coordinate the rest of the rescue, including helping to make a rope bridge.

The four teens are all Cadets in the Soddy Daisy High School JROTC and credit their experience in the program with helping them keep calm and help save their friend. Andy says he would have died without their efforts. 

"Something like that could happen in a matter of seconds, you could lose your life in a couple of seconds," Andy said. "I've thought about it multiple times and I could've died that day and if it weren't for them, I wouldn't be sitting here right now."

Next week the Cadets will be honored with the Medal of Heroism for their quick thinking and courage to help save Andy. Their Senior Army Instructor Eric Redlin says the award is rare and that its the highest JROTC award for an act of bravery in the face of danger. They'll be presented the medals December 9 at 10 a.m. in the Soddy Daisy gym.

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