By MAGGIE MCMURRAY
Moapa Valley Progress
It would be a date long remembered by two local youth. On December 16, 2016, local teens Daxton Longman and Gage Hanley were traveling home from having dinner in Overton when they saw several cars pulled over near the Yamashita bridge. The simple heroic act that happened next has brought the two boys recognition from around the county and beyond.
Last week Hanley and Longman received high recognition from the Clark County Board of Commissioners. The two boys and their parents were invited to the County Commission meeting held on Tuesday, February 7. There they were awarded with a Medal of Honor for their deeds.
On that fateful December night, the boys took no time to think. They jumped out of their truck and quickly navigated the steep bank into the channel. Wading waist deep in cold water they worked to help the trapped driver, Lidia Ochoa of Overton.
Ochoa was not hurt, but her airbag had deployed and she was disoriented and unable to open the driver’s side door to exit the vehicle, which was quickly filling with water.
After considerable efforts, Longman and Hanley were likewise unable to get the driver’s side door open. So they climbed across the hood of the car, opened the passenger side door and helped Ochoa out. They then helped her back across the car and onto the bank, where Fed Ex driver Dennis Parsons and volunteer firefighter Blake Empey had tied a rope onto Parson’s truck and run it down the steep embankment. Empey and Parsons climbed down the rope and assisted the driver and the boys back up the bank to safety.
At the time, Longman and Hanley downplayed their heroic actions. “We really didn’t think about it,” Longman told the PROGRESS after the incident. “We just jumped in, got over to the car, and asked the lady if she was okay.”
But there were many others felt who these actions were worthy of recognition. One of these was Clark County Commissioner Marilyn Kirkpatrick who coordinated last week’s award.
“What these two young men have done deserves a lot of accolades because they were quick on their feet and very responsive,” Kirkpatrick said in last week’s meeting. “Because of that, they made a difference in somebody’s life for a very long time. I see them as our future public servants. Thinking about it brings tears to my eyes. As a mom with kids, you always hope they do the right thing. So we are very lucky to have you in Clark County.”
The boys each received a proclamation recognizing their action as well as receiving the Clark County Medal of Honor.
“They truly mean something because we don’t give them out very often,” Kirkpatrick said of the medals. “We felt you deserved these and they have your names engraved upon them.”
Kirkpatrick then gave Ochoa a chance to share her thanks with the boys who helped her.
“I’m sorry I don’t speak English very well, but I’m trying,” Ochoa said. “I just want to say thank you and you’re my heroes and my angels.”
Kirkpatrick also thanked the boys’ parents, saying, “We thank you for raising such great children.”
Hanley and Longman then posed for pictures with Metro officer Nathan Bradford who also helped with the rescue.
“I’m glad we had the guts to do it, because a lot of people didn’t,” Hanley said. “But I don’t feel special for going in. It just seemed like we were at the right place at the right time.”