University News

Deputy Chief Eric Lenardt, Macomb Mayor Mike Inman and President Jack Thomas congratulate (from l-r) Matthew Demetral, Ryan Brushaber and Owen Hill.
[Download Print-Quality Image]

WIU President Jack Thomas and Board of Trustees Chair Cathy Early congratulate Matthew Demetral, Ryan Brushaber and Owen Hill.
[Download Print-Quality Image]

Students Receive Citizens Awards

November 21, 2013

Share |
Printer friendly version

MACOMB, IL -- Saturday, Sept. 7 at Macomb's Spring Lake Park was just another ordinary day spent fishing for three Western Illinois University students. Their day quickly turned extraordinary as they witnessed a car plunge into the lake, which led them to drop their fishing poles and dive into the water to rescue the driver.

"The only thing I can say about what prompted me to jump in and help the man was that it was what my parents and the rest of my family have taught me. You do everything you can to protect other people in their time of need," said Matthew Demetral, a junior law enforcement and justice administration major from Joliet.

According to Owen Hill, a freshman law enforcement major from Joliet, the thought of his own safety didn't even cross his mind.

"If someone is in that kind of trouble or danger you do something about it, so we went into the water to help," Hill said.

The acts of heroism of Demetral, Hill and Ryan Brushaber, a junior philosophy major from Elk Grove Village, were recognized Nov. 19 by the Macomb Police Department and the City of Macomb. They each received a Citizens Award of Appreciation for their efforts that September day.

"Your concern for the community and the well-being of others, as well as your willingness to assist the citizens of this community in a critical incident, is a testament to your selflessness and personal courage," said Deputy Chief Eric Lenardt. "It is with great honor that we present to you a Citizens Award of Appreciation."

The trio, along with Scott Davis of Milton, WI, who was camping nearby, pulled the individual from the vehicle and on to dry land, where they began performing CPR until rescue workers arrived. The individual later succumbed to conditions unrelated to the crash.

"These students are a credit to Western Illinois University," added President Jack Thomas. "We are so proud of their selfless acts of bravery. They are indicative of the quality students we have on our campus."

Posted By: University Communications (
Office of University Communications & Marketing