Nicasio boy honored for heroism

10/10/2013

Oliver Hawke, a 15-year-old from Nicasio, and his friend Ernie Bates last week received a Marin County Hero Award for rescuing an unconscious man in the waters off Stinson Beach in February. The boys were surfing roughly 100 yards from the shore when they noticed a shape floating towards them; they soon realized it was the body of a man they had seen just five minutes earlier boogie boarding past them. The pair acted immediately: “It kind of just kicked in that we’ve got to get this guy the help he needs,” Mr. Hawke said. They grabbed the man and began pulling him toward shore while waving and yelling for help, he said, adding that at first some bystanders thought the threesome was just gallivanting in the water. A park ranger administered CPR on the beach and a helicopter lifted the man to a hospital. Mr. Hawke has been surfing since middle school, and he and Mr. Bates have been surfing together since their freshman year. “It’s safe to say that we’re in the water a lot,” he said.