VALPARAISO, Ind. — An Indiana Navy recruiter put his training to use close to home last week, saving the lives of two young children.
According to the Department of Defense, Culinary Specialist 1st Class Bobby Weaver was headed to work in Valparaiso on July 25 when the car that was traveling in front of him lost control, struck an emergency vehicle and went off the road into a deep ditch.
Though he couldn't see the car, Weaver said he saw a splash and hurried to help.
"I went running down to the ditch. By the time I got down to the car, the driver was climbing out of the passenger side window," he said.
Alyssa Jankowski was dazed, confused, and up to her waist in water when a strange man asked her, "Is everyone okay?"
Jankowski had just crashed into a deep, water-filled ditch along U.S. 30 outside Valparaiso.
"No," she shouted back, "my babies are still in the car."
The voice belonged to Navy Specialist Bobby Weaver, a naval recruiter from northern Indiana.
"I was taken aback by just how deep the water was," Weaver said.
When he heard Jankowski say her kids were still in the car, he quickly made his way down the embankment to help her pull them from the car.
"I put the 5-year-old on one arm and the 2-year-old on the other," Weaver said. "Then I told her to hold on to me."
Jankowski had lost her shoes in the crash.
"Thankfully, she had gone through a fence on her way down," Weaver said, "and I was able to use that to kind of pull us up the embankment."
Once they got back up to the road, Weaver put Jankowski and the boys in his truck. She had a concussion and serious bruising on her arm and legs, but the boys were alert and OK.
"My oldest keeps telling people I crashed into a lake," Jankowski said.
While they waited for first responders, Weaver asked if she needed to call anyone.
"She had lost her phone in the crash," he said. "She asked me to call her parents for her."
He did, making sure to let them know everyone was going to be OK. After an ambulance came and took the family, Weaver went back to work. But he still wondered how everyone was.
"I tried calling her parents back," Weaver said, "then about 20 minutes later, I got a text from her."
"I told him thank you," Jankowski said. "I couldn't have done this without you. Just thank you for everything."
Jankowski and the boys are doing OK, though she is still sore. She started a GoFundMe to try and help pay for a new car.
Weaver is just glad he could help.
"I'm glad it was me," he said, "I think my Navy training really helped."