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Teen honored for saving grandfather’s life

Airline senior Cameron Mattison stands with his family after being presented the Bossier Sheriff’s Hero Award by Bossier Sheriff Julian Whittington Tuesday afternoon. The teen saved the life of his grandfather — Harry Mattison, center — who was thrown 30 yards from a fishing boat during a recent boating accident.  Other family members include (pictured left to right), Trey McGee, Cameron’s brother-in-law; Lori Mattison, Cameron’s mother; Brett Mattison, Cameron’s father, who was also a fisherman in the boat during the accident; Harry Mattison, grandfather; Janis Mattison, grandmother; Cameron; Sheriff Whittington, and Kady Mattison, Cameron’s sister and 11th grader at Airline High School. 

A Bossier City teen was honored by the Bossier Parish Sheriff’s Office Tuesday for saving his grandfather’s life.

Eighteen-year-old Airline High School senior Cameron Mattison was presented with an award for his heroism and selfless action in rescuing his grandfather during a boating accident that occurred in October.

“I really wasn’t thinking about it, I just kinda jumped in. It happened really quick,” said Cameron. “I’m glad I did what I did, or we wouldn’t be able to have him back.”

Mattison was preparing for a fishing tournament at Lake Texoma with his father, Brett, and 77-year-old grandfather, Harry. While they were scouting out different areas to fish, the weather changed into cold temps and windy conditions.

All three had their life jackets on, as well as rain gear and layers of insulated clothing. At one point, the outboard motor malfunctioned, and the boat went into a spin. Cameron’s grandfather was thrown from the boat.

He was eventually located 30 yards away from the boat with his life jacket barely hanging on and his wet clothes pulling him into the frigid waters.

“I had given up,” Harry recalled. “I was under water, I could see the surface, but I couldn’t get there.”

Cameron dove into the water and managed to position his grandfather’s where he could catch his breath and then helped him swim back to the boat.

“Without hesitation, I jumped in and swam to him,” said Cameron. “I picked him up, got his face where it was clear so he could breathe, and started to swim back to the boat.”

Harry’s fright turned to comfort when he felt “these hands coming up under you and you can stick your head out of the water,” he said. “I know everybody’s proud of their children in this kind of thing, but he stands real tall to me.”

“I commend Cameron for his heroic and selfless actions in his swift response to rescue his grandfather after he was thrown from the boat,” said Sheriff Whittington. “These qualities are such wonderful traits to have at such a young age, and Cameron’s dad and grandfather can surely be proud of him. Cameron has already achieved one of the greatest things in life – selfless concern for others.”

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Sean Green is managing editor of the Bossier Press-Tribune.