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MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Two kayakers were honored alongside some of Memphis’s finest Thursday night.

Ande Demetriou and Paul Frye were given civilian awards by the fire department after rescuing a family on the Wolf River.

“I’m proud of it,” Demetriou said.

Both were celebrated at Greater Imani Church the Cathedral of Faith during a ceremony for distinguished firefighters and paramedics.

“I’m humbled to be here with this group of true heroes,” Frye said.

Demetriou and Frye’s brave deed happened last summer while the two kayak tour guides were paddling down the river for fun.

“We heard some children calling for help,” Frye said.

Four children and their father were growing weaker by the moment as they battled a strong current in deep water. 

“They were out swimming,” Demetriou said. “It had rained about two days earlier so the water was pretty high, a little bit too strong for them.”

Demetriou and Frye jumped into action.

“Paul got a couple on his kayak. I got a couple on mine and we just got them back to the shore to their families, had to throw a rope to the dad,” Demetriou said. “We’re both boy scout leaders and we’re prepared for it and we stayed calm. I think that was the biggest thing.”

Their swift response likely saved five lives.

“Just happy to be in the right place at the right time,” Frye said.

“We didn’t exchange numbers or anything, just happy to get them off to the side and get them home,” Demetriou said.

Both men work with Blues City Kayaks.