Rescuers reunite with veteran they saved after crashing into pond

Local heroes reunited with a driver they helped save after crashing into a retention pond.

It was Saturday morning on August 1, when Ret. Army Staff Sgt. Michael Cliver was driving down Maitland Boulevard after traveling 18 hours from Chicago. His SUV veered off the road, crashing through a fence and into a retention pond.

“All I remember is starting to come down that ramp,” Cliver said. “After that I don’t recall a thing.”

He was unconscious while his car quickly sinking. Michael Ciurea and Jeffrey Brownlow were driving by at the right time.

“We just jumped out of the car and started running to the lake,” Ciurea said.

MORE NEWS: 'A child walked up to me': Quick-thinking teen praised for pulling wandering toddler from busy road

“Next thing you know we’re in the pond,” Brownlow said. “And we’re in there pulling him out.”

But Cliver was out cold.

“When he came up he wasn’t responding,” Brownlow said. “No pulse. So swam him over to the bank and I just knew we needed to get that blood – keep it moving and so just started CPR on him.”

It was the difference between life and death until paramedics arrived.

“They pulled water out of my lungs,” Cliver said. “I was just about dead.”Cliver spent the next eight days in the hospital recovering.“According to my wife, I had a mild heart attack and something else,” Cliver said.

Thankful to be alive, he’s getting the chance to thank his heroes in person -- a special reunion after a life-saving rescue.

“To see that that’s a real person with a family, with a name, it just made it all worth it,” Ciurea said.   

Now those good Samaritans are being honored for their bravery and selflessness.

“God put us there at the right time to act and make a difference,” Brownlow said.