HOMETOWN HERO: Shawn Holland

By: Kristin Martin
By: Kristin Martin

"We were fighting the currant. Mr. Donelly was trying to look with the flashlight to see if he could see any signs of the girls, any debris, because at that point, you're hoping for the best, but thinking what if, thinking something bad may have happened."
 

WARREN COUNTY, Ky. (WBKO) -- It's the time of year many want to get out on the water, but for three 21-year-old girls, the fun turned frightening Monday night.

They were in one canoe and two other friends were in another.

Then their canoes flipped.

"Lost all their phones and everything and had no communication," said Shawn Holland.

That separated the three girls from the rest of the group.

The other two, including Holland's son, finally made it back.

"He said he had not seen the other three girls in almost two hours. By that time, it's 10 o'clock, pitch dark, in the middle of the night."

Although his son was safe, another man he had never met said his daughter was still missing.

"So, at that point, Mr. Donelly said, 'I'm going back to look for them." And I said, 'I am, too.' So I got in and off we went."

They searched for a couple hours -- going upstream for about three miles.

"We were fighting the currant. Mr. Donelly was trying to look with the flashlight to see if he could see any signs of the girls, any debris, because at that point, you're hoping for the best, but thinking what if, thinking something bad may have happened."

Around midnight, after passing through some swift water, they finally found the girls after yelling their names.

"Fortunately, they hadn't got swept up in any kind of water or under any debris or anything like that. Once they realized they knew they were lost, they stayed put. From everything I understand, that's the thing to do is to stay, don't try to get out, let somebody come get you."

WBKO tried to contact the girls and didn't hear back, but Holland said they were relieved when he found them.

So for putting himself in potential danger to help a group of strangers to safety, we honor Shawn Holland as this week's Hometown Hero.

Warren County Search And Rescue officials say they appreciate all the volunteers who helped with the search.


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