LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — A little 4-year-old girl is alive after being rescued by a Nevada game warden’s courageous act and quick thinking last year. The United States Coast Guard has recognized Sean Flynn with the Silver Lifesaving Medal.
May 10, 2020, was when the life-changing event took place for Gloria and David Valladares.
They were on a 20-foot boat on Lake Mead along with Leyola Valladares, their daughter. The boat flipped over because of strong winds and flash flooding. Gloria and David were saved, but their daughter was nowhere to be found.
“No mother ever wants to go through that and not know where their child is, I just felt completely empty,” Gloria said.
The now 4-year-old Leyola Valladares was trapped under the boat.
When Sean Flynn, with the Nevada Department of Wildlife, found out, he didn’t think twice to put his life on the line and dove into the turbulent water to save her.
“It gives you a little bit more of a push, you want to make sure you can do everything you can for a kid,” said Flynn.
His courage is what brought the Valladares family back together. Flynn said he was grateful to have been there at that moment. Gloria Valladares said she was speechless when she saw Flynn with her daughter in his arms.
“He saved a life, he saved our lives by bringing us our daughter back, and everyone that was there that helped us they changed our life for the better,” Valladares explained.
For his bravery, Flynn received the Silver Lifesaving Medal. It’s one of the Coast Guard’s highest awards.
“It’s not something you seek out, by all means, it was luck that I ended up being available even to go and assist at that point,” Flynn said.
Nevada game wardens Thomas Hamblin and Casey Humphries were also presented with the Coast Guard Public Service award. They helped save 11 people from the water during the same incident.
Game warden Flynn said he also wants families to remember that it’s incidents like this why it is critical to have a life jacket. He said it can protect you and your family from facing the worst-case scenario.