Rob Young was celebrating his first Father's Day last year with his daughter on the beach of Deer Creek State Park in Mt. Sterling when he heard his wife yelling.

Rob Young was celebrating his first Father's Day last year with his daughter on the beach of Deer Creek State Park in Mt. Sterling when he heard his wife yelling.

"There was a big crowd of people huddled around something or someone," Young recalled. "I ran up as fast as I could and kind of pushed through some of the people, and there was a little girl lying there, half out of the water, not moving."

The five-year-old had fallen out of a raft and into the water.

Young, who was then in his second month as a firefighter/paramedic for the Norwich Township Fire Department, did what is called a sternal rub.

"That's where you rub a person's chest kind of hard. Usually that can wake somebody up if they've passed out for just a brief moment.

"She didn't wake up there," he said, "so I kind of rolled her on her side and did some back blows, where you take your hand and forcefully smack on their back a little bit just to try to get some water out of her lungs if she did actually breathe in any water.

"She still wasn't awake for me, so I decided to try to give her a rescue breath (mouth-to-mouth), just breathe for her once to see if she would start breathing on her own. As soon as I did, she opened her eyes right up and started pushing me away. She started looking around for her mom. Her mom started crying and scooped her up, and that was pretty much it.

"I just felt relieved that she was all right. It was a good Father's Day."

Norwich Township Fire Chief David Long said the Pickaway County Sheriff's Office told him the girl was "taken to Berger Hospital, and then flown to Children's Hospital and then released the next night."

To this day, Young doesn't know the name of the girl he saved from drowning.

At last week's Norwich Township Trustees meeting, the room was filled with firefighters and Young's family as he was recognized for his rescue.

"Robbie, for taking action when a lot of people probably would have gone the other way or looked the other way, it is my distinct pleasure to present you with a Fire Chief's Commendation for your efforts," Long said, handing Young a plaque and pin.

Young said he "was kind of nervous with a big crowd of people."

Born and raised in Hilliard, Young, 30, is a graduate of Hilliard Davidson High School.

He said he went to Columbus College of Art and Design for a few years, but "just decided what was really driving me was to be a fireman like my brother (Lieutenant) Greg Young. He's been a fireman there at Norwich for over 20 years. I got exposed to the fire service through him and really loved it."

Young said giving CPR at Deer Creek was his first real-life life-saving situation, but it won't be his last. When he does EMS runs, "there are times where we try to do advance medical care, things to try and save people's lives. In Hilliard, we have to be trained both as firefighter and paramedic to serve our community the best way we can."