CHELAN COUNTY - A potential tragedy was averted over the weekend along the Wenatchee River thanks to two off-duty law enforcement officers on vacation.
Kent police Detective Rick Gilcrist and King County Sheriff’s Office deputy B. Johnson were vacationing near the Wenatchee River when later afternoon on Sunday the two jumped into the river after noticing a child “floating down the river by himself and in a panic,” Kent police stated.
The young child was floating downstream in swift-moving water as both officers jumped in and reached for the child while fighting off the current. The two men were able to get the child safely to shore.
“They calmed the panicking child in the middle of the rapidly flowing river for a few minutes, fighting the current and swimming to the shore until the father arrive,” a witness described. “The river was moving at such a swift pace I have no doubt that without decisive action, quick thinking, and lack of hesitation these two men showed, while others stood by and watched, the child would have been swept away and ultimately drowned. The actions of both these men deserve to be recognized and commended as they reflect greatly upon not only their own personal character, but that of the departments that employ them.”
Kent police say Gilcrist will be receiving the department’s Life Saving Award after his vacation.
“We are thankful that even when off-duty, our officers regularly show the best character, the bravest actions, and a compassion for those in need,” Kent police stated. “This near tragedy was averted by their selfless character leading to swift actions; their character is why they became police officers in the first place.”