Georgetown boy saves dad's life, gets award

The courage and heroism of an 11-year-old Georgetown boy got some official recognition Friday.

The U.S. Coast Guard gave a special commendation to a boy who helped save his father's life. Jon-Allen Carl was already a hero to his family. The Coast Guard commendation just proves it.

Jon-Allen's story began back in June, when a horrible accident happened on board his dad's shrimp boat. The elder Carl was using a hydraulic winch that pulls up the nets on his shrimp boat when something terrible happened.

"My finger had got caught in it and just took me on into it," said Allen Carl. "It was over before it happened, it seemed like."

In an instant, the winch yanked off Carl's left arm. He began bleeding profusely, in great pain and shock. After asking his son to wrap a towel around what was left of his arm to stanch the bleeding, he told Jon-Allen to steer the boat over to a friend's boat nearby and call the Coast Guard right away.

"He did everything that I asked him to do, he was very responsive," said the elder Carl about his son.

Using their marine band radio, Jon-Allen passed along critical information to rescuers and then followed their directions to help his dad avoid bleeding to death.

The 11-year-old isn't saying it was fun or easy.

"It was real scary," he told reporters after the Coast Guard commendation ceremony. "It's kind of hard to believe."

He did what he had to do though he's not sure exactly how. "I have no idea. I guess God did it," the younger Carl said.

For his heroic efforts, the Coast Guard gave Jon-Allen a Public Service Commendation. "It feels pretty good," he said.

And today, Allen Carl is adjusting to life without a left arm, but says he wakes up every morning, thankful to his son, and the Lord, for keeping him alive.

"To see him and my wife and my children, it's pretty amazing. Life could be taken away from you just that quick. There's no doubt about it."

It's a different challenge every day, but he'll keep going and do the best he can, Carl said. As for his son, Jon-Allen said the accident won't stop him from going back out on that boat.

Friday's ceremony also recognized the first responders, the Coast Guard helicopter rescue crew and personnel from Medical University of South Carolina.