Washougal awards first Civilian Award for Heroism after rescue

City officials, police chief praise Brad Goostree for saving young man’s life

The city of Washougal has awarded its first Civilian Award for Heroism to local resident Brad Goostree.

Members of the Washougal City Council presented Goostree with the award during the Council’s Aug. 8 meeting, and thanked the Washougal resident for his heroic actions that may have saved the life of a young man who fell into the Washougal River near the Sandy Swimming Hole in Camas on June 23.

“I know that you didn’t plan to go out and save anybody or go into the water, but situations make heroes,” Councilman Ernie Suggs told Goostree during the award presentation. “I think that you’re an asset to the community, and that the young man and his relatives and parents are very appreciative. We just need more heroes in our communities to take care of us.”

Washougal Police Department Chief Wendi Steinbronn told the Council a young man had been walking with two friends when he fell into the river. His friends tried to pull him out, but he remained under water for several seconds before Goostree arrived on the scene.

“Mr. Goostree immediately sprang into action and waded into the cold, swift water to pull the young man to safety,” Steinbronn said. “The man was semi-conscious, but breathing.”

An ambulance arrived and took the man to a nearby hospital, where he was later determined to be in “good condition,” according to Steinbronn.

The police chief presented Goostree with one of the police department’s “Kindness 911” citations, which police give out when they see people doing good deeds..

“I had seen him when I first arrived on the scene, and he was walking off, and at that point I didn’t know his involvement, and so he was just headed home,” Steinbronn said of Goostree. “And then, once we figured out the story of what had happened, I found him and told him I wanted to recognize him for his selfless act that he performed. I’m sure to him it seems like a small thing, but that kid could have easily drowned.”

Council members praised Goostree’s efforts.

“That’s a really amazing thing that you did,” Councilwoman Molly Coston said. “I hope that all of our citizens would have the sensitivity to act when they see something like that. I know that probably isn’t always the case, but I think that’s a marvelous act of true heroism.”

Councilman David Stuebe also praised Goostree’s awareness of the situation.

“There’s a lot of heroes out there that are trained in everything, but I’ll tell you what, being on the spot and on the scene, people have to act, and not everybody acts,” Stuebe told Goostree. “I appreciate you looking out for your (fellow community members).”