Heroic deputy saves teen from drowning in ocean

, Written by Kassi Nelson, Posted: Thu, June 5 2014 at 6:34 PM, Updated: Fri, June 6 2014 at 12:00 AM

Brookings, Ore. -- A Curry County Sheriff's Deputy is out of the hospital after nearly drowning while saving a young man's life.

Deputy Terry Brown is a humble hero. He earned the title on Harris Beach when 14 year-old Joshua Peterson was swept out to sea.

"I'm just a guy who comes to work every day and puts on a uniform and I know what I'm getting into," Brown said.

He got the call Monday evening after the seventh grader was pulled out to the ocean by the undertow while playing in the water. When Brown got there Josh was 150 feet out, and struggling to stay afloat.

"I've never had a near death experience except on Monday. I was real scared I'll tell you what though," Josh said.

The currents were so strong Josh couldn't swim back to shore. That's when Brown made the split second decision to jump in. He grabbed a life jacket, swam out to Josh, and kept him calm in the tumultuous water.

"We talked about whatever we could think about," Brown said.

They talked about horses, their families, and friends. Brown said Josh did a good job with staying calm.

"You could see it in his eyes though he was scared," Brown said.

After treading water for a half hour the two became quiet. Except for their thoughts.

"A couple times we both started wondering if we were going to make it," Brown said.

That's when back up came in the form of Curry County Rescue Swimmer Logan Couch. He tried to reach them by kayak, but it capsized. He kept swimming.

"Josh was real cold and shaking a lot, Terry was fatigued from the waves and keeping Josh up," Couch said.

Another 20 terrifying minutes went by with the three holding on to each other. Finally another member of the team came out with a rope, tied it around Brown, and they were all pulled to safety.

Brown and Josh were both taken to the hospital with hypothermia. They said if it weren't for each other, or the teams working on shore, they never would have made it.

"We're going to be good friends the rest of our lives over it," Brown said.

"The first thought when I woke up the next morning was 'where's Terry?" Josh said.

Now they have a special bond after the near death experience, and a new appreciation for life.

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About the Author

Kassi Nelson

NBC5 News reporter Kassi Nelson was born and raised in Nebraska. She graduated from the journalism school at University of Nebraska Lincoln where she studied broadcasting.

She also studied philosophy in the Czech Republic. Kassi has visited nine other countries including Sochi, Russia, where she reported on the preparations for the 2014 Olympic Games.

She loves skiing and live concerts!

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