Callaway High Heroes: Trio helps students injured in boat accident

Published 10:00 am Wednesday, March 9, 2022

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It was supposed to be a calm, relaxing day for the Callaway Highschool students attending a fishing tournament at Lake Martin late last month. The most exciting occurrence was supposed to be the amount of fish the students caught.

However, three Callaway High students soon found themselves part of a rescue effort after a boat containing two Alabama students crashed into a shoal area right in front of them.

Student Nathan Odom was on a boat with his father when he saw a boat carrying an adult man and two high school-age boys crash into a rocky shoal. The captain of the boat remained mostly unharmed in the crash, Odom recalled, but the other two boys were projected from the boat on impact.

“[I thought] we’ve got to go help them,” said Odum. “We got the kids out of the water and back to the ramp. They were shaken up pretty bad. One kid said all he could remember was hitting the water.”

Odom’s schoolmates, Caden McMillian and Krysten Garrett, were in the boat behind him when the crash occurred and came forward to assist. They recalled the water was about seven or eight feet deep and that another boat in the area had witnessed the accident but had driven right by it.

“I heard Mr. Danny yell ‘rock,’ and I looked up and said ‘are those two kids in the water?’” Garrett recalled.

“It kind of freaked me out when we were driving up to them,” McMillian added.

“We didn’t see the kids moving. It looked like they were knocked out from how far back we were. I thought something was seriously wrong.”

The students, along with their boat captains, were able to assist the injured passengers to shore. The captain of the wrecked boat was able to load the boat and both of the injured students into his truck and get them to the hospital, the students said.The students later found out the boys were students at Springwood School, a private school in Lanett, Alabama. One suffered a minor concussion while the other sustained a broken femur above the knee and another leg fracture.

“The kid with the broken knee’s stepdad called my dad,” Odum said. “He was saying ‘thank you for what ya’ll did,’ and ‘I can never repay ya’ll.’”

The students’ deed of valor may have gone unnoticed had it not been for a phone call from Amy Britton, the assistant to the Head of School at Springwood. Callaway High Principal Jason Graham called the students in to listen to the message the week after the incident.

“They came to the aid and greatly helped two of our fishermen yesterday,” Britton said in the message. “We appreciate all their help for [helping] our two students.”

Graham called Springwood and was sent directly to the Head of School, Lowrie McCown.

“I understand you didn’t get to the weigh-in on time, so what a brilliant sacrifice of servanthood that you guys demonstrated for helping out our two athletes …” McCown said in the phone call. “Thank you.”

Graham noted the student’s humbleness and that their actions were an example students should exemplify.

“These three students are not the type to jump out and [bring attention to themselves],” he noted. “That’s what we try to promote: be the example of everything.”

Odum said fellow classmates asked him and McMillian why they chose to get involved. His response was simple.

“Because it was the right thing to do, and you have to do what you got to do,” Odum said. Garrett added that she had been called a hero by some of her co-workers at Pizza Villa.

A video cataloging the students’ call with McCown is available on Callaway High School’s Facebook page.