US Coastguardsman from Dickinson to be honored for saving father, son in San Marcos River


After a recent trip to the San Marcos River, Petty Officer 3rd Class Samuel A. Peikert, of Dickinson, will be honored as the 2013 USO Coastguardsman of the Year -- with good reason.

"I was there with a couple of my buddies," Peikert said. "We were at the river just hanging out all day, and a father and son got too close to a 25-foot dam. They got swept over."

Peikert knew the father and son were in bad shape.

"When the son went over, the father reached for him and, in turn, they both got swept over," Peikert said. "The son had broken ribs and a broken leg. When the dad went over, he went over head-first, so he had a concussion on his head and a cut also on his head."

As others watched the men get swept downstream, Peikert reacted.

"I blinked and I was already in the water, and I was already to the guy," he recalled.

Peikert credits his training for saving two lives.

"Rescue swimmer program: I did that so I kind of knew how to react and what to do," Peikert said. "But in actuality, I had never done that on the job."

Hours after the rescue, father and son returned to the dam.

"He was like, 'You saved my life, and you saved my son's life. Not only that, but I have three other boys that were right there with him, and I have a two-month-old daughter and wife that were standing there watching. They were going to watch their dad and brother die in front of them,'" Peikert said.

Peikert will be flown to the nation's capital next week where he will receive the USO Coast Guardsman of the Year award at the USO 2013 Gala.

"God put me in the right place at the right time," he said.

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