Green River Star -

By Stephanie Thompson
People Editor 

GR teenager saves boy


It’s a sound no mother ever wants to hear. The sound of panic and fear in their child’s voice.

Unfortunately, this is exactly the sound Green River resident Kymbrlee Smith heard Thursday afternoon.

The Smith family and a few other families gathered at the Green River pelican beach, which is located near Expedition Island. This area is called the pelican beach because of the large pelican statue near the kayak U-drop.

“My son and a couple of other boys were catching crawdads,” Kymbrlee said.

According to Kymbrlee, they were told to stay in the shallow area of the river, but like many kids Kymbrlee’s nine-year-old son, Ryan Smith, and one of his friends started to stray away from the beach.

That’s when Smith heard the unforgettable sounds of her son calling for help.

“Mom,” “Mom,” Ryan called.

Kymbrlee looked around to see where her son’s voice was coming from. She saw at once that Ryan was in the Green River and in trouble. Ryan was bobbing up and down in the water and was struggling against it.

“He got swept up by the current,” Kymbrlee said. “I jumped in to go get him and he’s bobbing under.”

Kymbrlee was unsuccessful in reaching her son.

It was at this time that 14-year-old Jamie Sprecher decided to act. Sprecher, who had just turned 14 that day, saw Ryan playing on the rocks.

“He fell off and got caught in a current,” Sprecher said. “At first, I thought he was playing around.”

However, Sprecher also heard the panic and terror in Ryan’s call for help and knew he needed to do something when Kymbrlee couldn’t get to him.

Unlike Kymbrlee, Sprecher took a few seconds to access the situation and decide where he needed to swim in order to reach Ryan, who was heading down stream.

Sprecher said he jumped in at an angle so he could intersect where Ryan was heading.

Sprecher swam out to Ryan and grabbed him. Sprecher said Ryan was scared and shocked when he reached him.

“‘It’s going to be alright. You’re going to be OK,’” Sprecher kept telling Ryan.

Meanwhile, Kymbrlee is still swimming to them both. She said Sprecher was working hard to keep Ryan’s head above the water, which caused him to go under the water at times. She knew both of them were drinking a lot of water.

Finally, Sprecher and Kymbrlee met in the river and they helped Ryan to the shore together. Once on the shore, Ryan was checked out and seemed scared, but OK. Everyone in the group started hugging Sprecher and thanking him for saving Ryan.

“He basically saved my son,” Kymbrlee said. “He wasn’t boastful at all. He didn’t think anything of it.”

Kymbrlee said she knew her son wasn’t a very good swimmer, which is why he was told to stay near the beach. Sprecher, on the other hand is on the USA Swim team and is at the Copper 2 level.

Sprecher said he just used his swimming skills to help the boy out.

“It was just what had to be done,” Sprecher said. “It was kind of a scary thing when I think of how it could have ended.”

Kymbrlee said she was sure her son might have drowned if it weren’t for Sprecher’s efforts. She said Sprecher saved her son and that day is one she will never forget.

“I’m very grateful for what he did,” Kymbrlee said.

“I’m just glad everyone’s OK,” Sprecher said.


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