A Teen Saved Two Men from a Rip Current. The Coast Guard Honored his Valor

Eric Hupp Certificate of Valor alongside Rear Adm. Keith Smith
Eric Hupp (left) holds his Certificate of Valor alongside Rear Adm. Keith Smith (right), Coast Guard Fifth District Commander, at an official ceremony at the Portsmouth Federal Building, July 28, 2020, in Portsmouth, Virginia. (U.S. Coast Guard photo/Emily Thrower Velez)

Eric Hupp was having a family beach day at the Outer Banks when the 15-year-old heard someone crying for help from the water. Hupp, an experienced swimmer, dove in to pull two men from a rip current that threatened to drown them both.

His quick action saved their lives.

For that bravery, Hupp was honored Wednesday morning with a Certificate of Valor presented to him by the U.S. Coast Guard. It’s given to people who show courage saving or trying to save people from perils of the sea.

On a phone call with The Virginian-Pilot, he recalled that one man had been trapped by the current and the second had gotten trapped while trying to rescue the first. Hupp said he swims year-round, so he was familiar with the water and comfortable getting around it.

“I was a little worried,” said Hupp, who lives in Virginia Beach. “He was a big guy.”

Lt. Cmdr. Dan Schrader said it took almost two years to give Hupp the certificate because the Coast Guard tasked a team of investigators to verify the life-saving measures he took during the September 2018 rescue near Duck, N.C.

“This is the youngest (person) I’ve ever seen an award like this be given,” Schrader said. “Being this young and showing such a level of heroism, it’s very commendable.”

This article is written by Ana Ley from The Virginian-Pilot and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the Industry Dive publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@industrydive.com.

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