Boise Police Department
Clay Kenyon, (left), a senior at Timberline High School, dove into the New York Canal in August to save Joann Conger, 70, who had fallen in while picking flowers along the water's edge.
When Clay Kenyon walked into his classroom on the morning of Sept. 6, Mayor David Bieter, Boise Police Chief Michael Masterson, Fire Marshal Romeo Gervais and his parents were all waiting for him.
Not because he was in trouble, but because on Aug. 11, he saved a woman’s life.
Seventy-year-old Joann Conger was picking flowers by the side of the New York Canal that afternoon when she fell. She floated down the canal head-first in the swift, cold water. That section of the canal has no gates or ladders and steep concrete walls make it almost impossible to get out.
A man barbecuing dinner heard her yelling from his deck and called 911. Meanwhile, Timberline High School senior Clay Kenyon was riding his bike near the canal when he spotted Conger and jumped in to keep her head above water. He’s on the Timberline Swim Team, so he has strength and skills in the water.
Eventually Kenyon was thrown a flotation device and able to get himself and Conger both to slack water, where he had help pulling her onto the bank. When EMS arrived, Conger was exhausted but unharmed, conscious and responsive. She was taken to the hospital for observation, but released shortly after.
For his bravery, Kenyon received a Citizen Lifesaving Award from the city of Boise, Boise Police Department and Boise Fire Department. Conger stood with the others on Friday morning to thank Kenyon for saving her life.
“She just needed help. I knew I was a good swimmer and it seemed like the right thing to do,” Kenyon said in a press release. He seemed humbled and a bit overwhelmed with all the attention.