A Texas family has raised tens of thousands of dollars for a man who saved their little girl from drowning this summer.
“Haylee Whiting, 10, and her family splashed along the shore in August, as they enjoyed the last day of their vacation in Monterey, California. But when the tides took a turn, the family’s summer break almost ended in tragedy,” KALB reported.
As Haylee played in the waves she was caught in a riptide that pulled her further out to sea.
“I was thinking, ‘This is not happening right now. There’s no way I’m actually getting pulled out.’ I was really terrified,” Haylee recalled. “It happened in seconds.”
Her mom, Samantha, tried swimming out to save her daughter, but was unsuccessful.
However, when Kevin Cozzi and his fiancée heard their cries for help, he knew exactly what to do, according to ABC 6.
“I’ve been swimming since I was three years old competitively, so I felt like I could get to them. I ran out there and as soon as I got to the mom, I knew she was struggling,” Cozzi explained.
Once he took hold of the little girl, the three swam closer to shore until a lifeguard intervened.
Following the incident, Samantha kept searching for Cozzi and recently posted about the rescue in a Facebook group called Merced Neighborhood Watch in hopes of finding him.
It did not take long before they reconnected, and now the young mom is working to raise money to give the couple their dream wedding and honeymoon since theirs was canceled due to the pandemic.
As of Monday afternoon, the GoFundMe page she created has raised $51,256 for them.
“Kevin and his fiancé are still so humble saying they don’t deserve this. I feel like if I had the money to give them anything in life I would, because they saved my world, my child,” Samantha wrote in an update on November 1.
She and her daughter are planning to thank Cozzi again when they attend his wedding next year, according to ABC 6.