Flagler County Fire Rescue Lieutenant Andrew Hardesty

The definition of a hero is a person who is admired for great or brave acts or fine qualities. Lacy Page nominated Andrew Hardesty, a lieutenant with 14 years’ experience with Flagler County Fire Rescue and seven years with North Lauderdale Fire Rescue. In her nomination, Lacy mentioned that Lt. Hardesty had saved a man from drowning in September. I was anxious to hear more. Lt. Hardesty was kind enough to give us this recollection:

Lt. Hardesty with his family
Lt. Hardesty with his family

“The incident in September was a straightforward call involving a beachgoer who presumably was a good swimmer but was unaware how strong a rip current can become. Here in Florida, rip currents have become one of the most common causes of nearshore drownings. Being an active member of the Flagler County Marine Rescue division we train for this eventuality and when our station received this call each member knew their part. Even though the team and the members were activated, the victim’s outcome

was positive due to the kindness of strangers and their willingness to come to the aid of the victim prior to our arrival. Once on scene, I noticed the victim and bystander who was helping keep the victim calm and head above water until further assistance could be given. I was first to enter the water with a floatation device, and shortly behind me was my backup swimmer who was able to assist the victim and me to shore without further complications. The victim was exhausted once back to shore but was very thankful to be there. Our medical rescue crew on scene was able to monitor the victim’s vital signs. He adamantly refused transport to the hospital but was extremely thankful for all the help.”

We also asked Lt. Hardesty if he considers himself a hero. He said, “I honestly do not consider myself a hero. I consider myself a compassionate human being who finds pleasure in serving the people around him and his community. I chose this career to be able to do exactly that. I am delighted that my passion for this position has awarded me the title of hero, but it is my genuine pleasure to be able to serve my community and the people inside of it.”

When asked what he would like to share on how to be a hero in your own life? He advises, “Be compassionate to the needs of others. Find a need and fill it. Reach out to a stranger, neighbor or organization in need, and become a volunteer in your community. Put the needs of others before your own, the reward of being a servant to others is more fulfilling than any recognition or payment you can ever receive.”

Lt. Hardesty has been married for 15 years and is the proud father of two boys, 8 and 12 years old.  It is our pleasure to recognize Lt. Hardesty’s service and share his wisdom.