Off-duty officer saves girl struggling in water at Atlantic Beach


ATLANTIC BEACH, NC (WBTW) – Not all heroes wear capes. Some serve with little more than a green pool noodle and a boogie board.

That’s all the equipment an off-duty law enforcement officer needed to help a girl struggling in the water at Atlantic Beach on Sunday.

Captain Allen Wilson with the Nash County Sheriff’s Office was enjoying some time on the sand when he noticed a girl on a float drifting farther away from her friends. The girl was about 12 years old and he thinks she was about 100 yards from the shore.

“It wasn’t long after that, that she came off the float from a wave and she appeared to try to swim to it, but she couldn’t get to it. And I could tell she was distressed,” Wilson said.

So Captain Wilson did what captains do. With nothing but a green pool noodle and a boogie board, he jumped into the water.

“And I got close and asked her if she could swim to me, and she was panicking, you could tell she was panicking,” he said. “By this time I was already getting pretty exhausted, so I knew if we could just get enough, maybe one of the waves would pick us up and bring us.

“And it did, thank the Lord, we were able to get a little closer and a little closer.”

Capt. Wilson says he’s not a strong swimmer. On a good day, he can barely swim the length of a pool. But Sunday on the sand he says he wasn’t alone.

“First of all, it’s not about me. I’ll be the first to tell you. God, I believe, placed me there and he gave me the tools to use to go get this young girl.”

And a dedication to help other humans.

“For 33 years I’ve served law enforcement just to try to do what’s right, try to help others.”

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