LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
His claim to fame came while Weaver was vacationing with his girlfriend’s family in Destin, Fla. The family was on the beach while they waited for their hotel rooms to be available. The beach was red-flagged due to riptides but Weaver noticed a couple out in the ocean, seemingly struggling to stay afloat as four- and five-foot tall waves came crashing on the shoreline.
Without thinking twice, Weaver jumped into the ocean and began swimming toward the couple. The woman, he said, was struggling harder than the man, and he went toward her first, diving under the huge waves to keep from being dragged back to the shore.
“I could see the man, and even though you could tell he was close to drowning himself, he was trying to get to the woman,” Weaver said. “That’s love if I ever saw it.”
Weaver said he was exhausted from the effort, pulling the two near-helpless people back toward the shoreline as the riptides and waves continued to hamper his progress. But he finally reached a point where he could stand in the ocean, and spectators rushed from the shore to help them in.
“People told me afterward that they saw the couple but they weren’t sure enough of their swimming skills,” Weaver explained. “But I couldn’t believe that of the 200 people standing on the beach, nobody came out to help us until I got to a place where I could stand up in the water.”
It was after the incident that Weaver learned the couple’s names.
“They were living in Mississippi and were newlyweds,” he said. “He is in the Air Force and he’s called me a couple times since then.”
As for the award, Weaver is excited and honored, even if he isn’t the 2013 recipient.