Josh LiVecchi looks up to his big brother. Not only does Jake LiVecchi serve as a role model, he saved his little brother’s life.
On a Memorial Day weekend family camping trip at Jordan Lake two years ago, Jake, then 12, swam across a cove to a beach and saw someone pointing back out to the cove.
“When I turned around, I saw that Josh was out there. He was struggling and wasn’t able to keep himself above the water,” Jake said Monday.
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Josh, who was 8 at the time, was trying to follow big brother but tired about halfway across the cove and then panicked in the 10-foot-deep water.
“I was just trying to keep my head above the water,” he said.
Jake had taken water rescue training a few weeks earlier with other members of Boy Scouts Troop 614 in Fuquay-Varina and quickly put his new knowledge to use.
“I got back in the water, [swam out to Josh] and got underneath him and got him up on my shoulders and swam back,” he said.
Jake first took Josh back to the beach, but Josh was too scared to get back in the water – walking back through the woods without shoes wasn’t an option, Jake said – so the brothers crossed the cove with Josh riding piggyback.
“He would swim under me and put me on his back,” Josh said.
Jake’s actions have now earned him one of the Boy Scouts of America’s highest honors, the Medal of Merit.