Father, sons commended by safety officials for saving neighbor from drowning

James Shankwiler and his sons Connor and Daniel were at their Harter Lane home on July 4 of last year when they heard the neighbor’s son screaming outside for help.

Daniel called 911 while his dad and brother ran next door, only to find their neighbor at the bottom of the deep end of his backyard swimming pool. They responded immediately, pulling the man out of the water and performing CPR on him.

By the time sheriff’s deputies and firefighters arrived to the scene, the neighbor was semiconscious and beginning to breathe on his own — the efforts made by Shankwiler and his two sons had saved the man’s life.

On Tuesday, the three local heroes received high praise and sincere thanks from public safety officials and La Cañada Flintridge City Council members for the actions they took that fateful day.

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Capt. Chris Blasnek of the Crescenta Valley Sheriff’s Station gave individual certificates of commendation signed by Los Angeles County Sheriff Jim McDonnell.

“Your life-saving efforts were instrumental in saving your neighbor’s life, and you are truly worthy of recognition and praise,” the commendation read. “You demonstrated true heroism and, by doing so, you gave a father and husband back to his family.”

Maria Grycan, a community services liaison for the Los Angeles County Fire Department, presented the trio with certificates of appreciation for their quick thinking and response.

“It demonstrates to everybody, really, the importance of stepping up when somebody is in need of help,” Grycan said. “There needs to be more people like you — you set an example for others to follow. We thank you very much.”

sara.cardine@latimes.com

Twitter: @SaraCardine

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