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Drowning Trucker's Good Samaritans Up for Award

The two men helped pull a driver to safety in Long Beach after he crashed his car into the San Gabriel River last week.

Two men who pulled a motorist from a pickup truck that crashed into the San Gabriel River on Tuesday are being nominated for the American Red Cross "Hometown Hero" award.

The award, given to hometown heroes within the areas served by the Greater Long Beach Chapter of the American Red Cross, recognizes "selfless acts of courage and humanitarian services by real people in our communities," according to the Red Cross.

Ryan Gordon of Redondo Beach and Keith Dodson of Seal Beach will both be nominated for the award after they helped pull a 42-year-old Placentia man from his truck after it crashed and started sinking in the San Gabriel River last week.

Mary Hunt, a Red Cross volunteer and a client of The Petrie Group of Wells Fargo Advisors, Gordon's employer, heard of the news through Patch and decided both men would be perfect candidates for the annual award.

"It was like, 'Wow, good for you,'" Hunt said after hearing about Gordon's successful rescue effort. "He gets to the river and doesn't think anything about (rescuing the man). ... That is pretty cool."

Both Gordon and Dodson assisted in pulling the man from the truck. Gordon told Patch that, at one point, he began fearing for his own life as the truck started pulling him under the water during the rescue.

"I wouldn’t have ever believed it could go so wrong so quickly. From the point where I smashed the window to where the truck sucked the driver and myself under water was probably three seconds,” Dodson said.

“When I got sucked against the car, I had a quick, life-flashed-before-your-eyes kind of moment.”

Hunt said she filled out the award nomination forms highlighting the men's heroic actions and will turn in the papers on Monday.

Should the two men win the award — which Hunt said is very likely — they will be honored at the Red Cross Hometown Heros awards luncheon in March.

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