A courageous groom stopped in the middle of his own wedding photos this week to help a total stranger drowning in the nearby ocean.
Thirty-seven-year-old Zac Edwards was posing with his bride, 32-year-old Cindy Edwards in Orange Beach, Alabama when the two heard screams from a woman who spotted a drowning teenager.
It was August 3 around 6 p.m. when the teen was pulled out into the water by strong currents on his boogie board.
Without a second thought, Zac, a marine science technician, began to strip down and dove in the water to come to the rescue.
“Cindy and I were taking our photos together by the water and we were just wrapping them up when a woman told us there was a teenager in the water struggling,” Zac recalled. “You could just tell by the look on his face he was in difficulty. When we first saw him he was about 50 yards out. I took off my shirt, but my wife said I didn’t have time to take off my pants.”
“I ran into the water,” he continued. “I told some kids to go back to the beach and I took a boogie board. I’m so glad I did that. I eventually reached him but we were about half a football field away from the shore. He just kept saying ‘I can’t breathe’.”
Zac swam out 150 feet to the boy, doing his best to keep him above water, and he was eventually able to prop him up onto the boogie board.
Cindy became worried as she saw her husband growing weary, but Zac continued to assist first responders who were previously tending to a different beach emergency.
With the help of the brave groom, first responders got the teen onto a jet ski along with Zac to return the two to shore.
“The current was really strong and it was stopping us coming in any further,” said Zac. “I was starting to panic slightly. The pants were making it hard to kick too.”
But when he saw the emergency responders, he knew everything would turn out okay.
“Thank God the first responders arrived,” said Cindy. “The lifeguards dived into the water and there were helicopters patrolling the waters. Our emergency services in Orange Beach can’t be commended enough.”
“I didn’t really take in the gravity of the situation until I laid down that night, added Zac. “Afterwards my hands were shaking but the adrenaline was just pumping.”
“Our guests were completely lost when we arrived at the reception,” said the bride. “I was soaking wet and my dress was covered in sand.”
Zac had to change into his boardshorts and show up a little underdressed, but for him, it was a small price to pay to save a life.
The pastor who officiated the wedding even commended Zac’s great act of bravery:
“It was incredible. The fact that this man took time out of his special day to save someone else was really special.”