MONROE, NE —Saturday started out like many other weekend days for 12-year-old Fullerton resident Cayden Scheffler. He was competing in a friendly fishing tournament at the Monroe Power Station on the Loup Canal, a couple friends at his side. Everything changed when his 17-year-old friend Ford’s dog jumped in the water.
“The dog was almost underneath the little hatch that opens up to go under there,” Cayden said. “Ford was over there getting dressed to jump in and I told him not to, but he still did it. Then, his girlfriend, Lilly, tried saving him over by the pipe but she fell in with him.”
Now it was a worst-case scenario, two teenagers and a dog in powerful water with a strong undertow and a 12-year-old on the shore. First, Cayden tried having Lilly grab the fishing line, but that led to a broken pole.
“Ford was talking to me and he said to grab his 12-foot pole and try sticking it out into the water and try grabbing us,” Cayden said.
Cayden took one more key step. He took off his socks.
“I strung the sock through (the eyelet) and dipped it in the water so it would be a little more stretchy,” Cayden said.
That made it easier to grab, and Cayden pulled Lilly to shore. Together they pulled in Ford, then hooked the dog and brought it to shore. That’s when emergency personnel and Cayden’s dad, Tony, arrived.
“When I come around and see all three of them, it was like a big weight off my shoulders,” Tony said.
For Ford, it was an exhausting ordeal. He was in the water for at least 25 minutes and he says he couldn’t have fought the current much longer.
“Not at all,” Ford said. “I couldn’t even move when I got out of the water.”
He says it was a heroic effort by Cayden.
“He’s something. He’s special, man,” Ford said.
A thought echoed by Tony.
“We didn’t want to see anybody get hurt,” Tony said. “I’m just proud of (Cayden) for doing the right thing.”