Tenaya Greeninger was given the youth hero award by the Red Cross
By Calvin Men
Aptos >> At just 12 years old, Tenaya Greeninger didn’t think much of paddling out into the ocean to rescue two boys stuck in the water.
Greeninger, now 14, was awarded the youth hero award by the Santa Cruz County Chapter of the American Red Cross. She will be honored at a breakfast event at the Cocoanut Grove, at 400 Beach St., on May 14.
The rescue took place in February 2012 when Tenaya went to Rio Del Mar Beach with a friend’s family. In the group was her friend, her friend’s younger brother, her friend’s mother and a friend of the brother.
In a brief moment while the boys — both 11 years old — were playing in the water, they were carried out.
“We just saw them and then we turned away for a little bit and they were way out there,” she said.
From what Tenaya saw, the boys were pulled out by a riptide. The mother began to worry and asked if the girls could somehow rescue the boys.
Tenaya was a surfer since she could remember. Moreover, she was a trained junior lifeguard. Those experiences combined into an instinct to simply grab a surfboard, paddle out into the ocean and bring the boys in.
“I don’t really second guess it,” she said. “I just kind of go out there and do it.”
Paddling out there, she could tell the boys were worried. One of them was relatively calm but had a worried look. The other one, who wasn’t as strong of a swimmer, was “freaking out.”
“I had to tell him to calm down because if he were panicking a little more, he probably would’ve not been able to keep his head above water,” she said.
After getting the boys onto the surfboard, she pushed the board back to shore. She’s not sure how far out the boys were from the shore or even how long the rescue took, describing it as a blur.
“It’s kind of a weird feeling,” she said. “I didn’t feel like a hero. It seemed like common sense to me.”
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Original article: http://www.santacruzsentinel.com/santacruz/ci_25581213/aptos-teen-shows-courage-water-rescue