The Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office said on Aug. 31 that one of its officers “happened to be in the area on another call” when someone contacted emergency services about a disabled child drowning.
The responding officer was identified by CBS47 as Officer Matthew Reddish.
“He quickly was able to respond to the scene,” the JSO wrote in a post on Facebook, adding that Officer Reddish then jumped in wearing “full gear because time was of the essence, swam to the center of the pond, and brought an autistic, non verbal, child out of the water.”
The child was reunited with his family and is safe, the sheriff’s office said.
In the post, JSO praised the actions of its officer, saying, “Great job JSO Officer Reddish!” and then underscored the agency’s mission: “We are here for you!”
At the time of reporting, the post garnered over 12,000 interactions, including around 1,400 comments.
“What an awesome story. Great job Officer Reddish, you are a true HERO with fast thinking. So thankful you saved that boy. I’m sure his family is beyond grateful for their son being alive. God bless you and every other emergency responder for always being out there for us. Thank you to all men in blue,” wrote one commenter.
“This hits me hard! Our 3-and-a-half-year-old grandson is non-verbal/mildly autistic. I am concerned about auto accidents/emergency situations. Pray for the LEO heroes always and thank you for your rescue and your service to protect and defend,” another person wrote.
The sheriff’s office also shared the story on Twitter, where one of the commenters noticed the tattoo on the arm of Officer Reddish: “His ink says it all: ‘I will go’ Isaiah 6:8.” This biblical verse is often referenced in the context of willingly accepting the call to serve and embark on a divine mission—despite being unclear about the nature and size of the associated hardship and danger.
“Thank God for JSO and the officer who responded,” another person commented.
Great job #JSO Officer Reddish!
Jumped in the water full gear because time was of the essence, swam to the center of a pond and brought an autistic, non verbal, child out of the water.
Thanks to Officer Reddish acting quickly, the child was reunited with his family and is safe. pic.twitter.com/axrG8KB0Od
— Jax Sheriff’s Office (@JSOPIO) August 31, 2019
The photo shared by JSO shows a beaming Officer Reddish holding up his arm, giving a “thumbs up.”
The tattoo on his arm reads: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us? And I said ‘Here I am, send me, I will go.”