By: Jenn Schanz
Caleb Amundson says his family always taught him to take action when someone needed help.
But the college student and volunteer firefighter from rural Fairbury had no idea a Labor Day celebration would also include saving a life.
Caleb was coming in from a day of jet skiing on Harlan County Lake, when he saw a nearby truck launching a pontoon boat.
Suddenly it's brakes went out, dragging the vehicle, driver, and boat into the water. And like that, everything was submerged.
"I just instantly knew well, if I don't get this guy out he's going to die. I felt his arm just dangling right there in his window, and I grabbed on with everything I had, and pulled," he says.
But Caleb quickly learned the rescue would be more complicated.
"I dove in and right as I did I heard his wife yell that was running down from the marina, 'he's paralyzed from the waist down!'"
The driver was trapped in his wheelchair apparatus.
Unable to see in the murky water, Caleb felt for the truck's mirrors in order to the find the man, and pull him to safety.
"It was really a shock and humbling that he had done something so heroic without thinking of his own safety," says Chris Amundson, Caleb's father.
Caleb credits him he with teaching him to always help those around him. He was one of the first people he called after the incident.
"'By the way dad I think I saved a man's life' and I'm like....uh!? I was in shock I couldn't believe it," Chris says.
The driver survived.
Although Caleb admits what he did was brave, this humble Husker says he's was just doing what he was taught.
"I just see myself as a normal guy, who I mean did the right thing. Hopefully anyone would have done what I would have done."
Caleb will be honored along with an Iowa 'Citizen Hero' during a special halftime ceremony at Friday's game.
The American Red Cross is still accepting nominations for local heroes for it's annual "Tribute to Heroes" awards. If you're interesting in nominating someone, visit www.redcross.org/neia