Sergeant Jonathan Stuelke, Corporal Byron Martin, Lance Corporal James Scaggs, Lance Corporal John Sheppleman (not pictured), and Sergeant Michael Canzone (not pictured) were presented the Red Cross Lifesaving Award for Professional Responders in a special ceremony at the Turtle Trail Pavilion on Onslow Beach (Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune) overlooking the site of the rescues.
On August 27th, 2023, two teenage girls were enjoying a swim in the ocean when they suddenly became trapped in a rip current. Their father noticed the emergency and entered the water to save the two girls, yet also ended up struggling in his efforts to reach them. The group of lifeguards quickly took emergency action, radioing the guard tower and first responders before entering the water to begin the rescues. All three swimmers were safely brought back to shore, two of whom–being asthmatic–were promptly administered oxygen. All three swimmers were assessed by EMS but were okay and did not require additional medical care.
“We’re extremely proud to be able to present Lifesaving Awards for Professional Responders to this group of Marines,” said James Jarvis, Executive Director of the Cape Fear Area Chapter of the Red Cross North Carolina region and a retired Marine himself. “If not for their quick thinking and heroic actions, we may be mourning the loss of any one of these victims. It’s a true example of what our mission is about—rising to answer the call to action and empowering people in our community to prevent, prepare for, and respond to emergencies.”