VENICE, Fla. - Two strangers were brought together by fate. Tuesday, they were recognized for their life-saving actions.
"It is because of their efforts that the driver is alive today," said Mayor John Holic.
Ed Coster and Rob Goodman met two and a half weeks ago at the Higel Boat Ramp in Venice. Ed was there to go paddleboarding. Rob was getting ready to fish from his kayak.
But they were faced with a submerged car and a woman in need of urgent help.
Rob saw it first. he called out to the stranger nearby - Ed. Then they saw an 81-year-old woman inside the vehicle with only inches of air remaining above her head.
"That day, Rob Goodman and Ed Coster showed heroic efforts by putting themselves in harm's way, to save another person," said Mayor Holic.
The two got her car door open and rescued her - after 10 hours of being trapped. Tuesday, they received the City of Venice Fire Rescue Helping Hands award.
Ever so humble, Ed and Rob said timing was on their side. The word "hero" they reserve for the firefighters who stood behind them.
"We don’t feel like heroes. I don’t feel like a hero. We were just in the right place at the right time. It just reinforces the fact that we can all be heroes every day. To our neighbors or friends, whoever is in a bad place at that moment," said Ed Coster.
Chief Shawn Carvey with Venice Fire Rescue said Ed and Rob are definitely heroes.
"The services they rendered to help that lady out and save her life is the ultimate sacrifice, that they would put themselves in harm’s way... we appreciate the service that they did," said Chief Carvey.
Ed is a retired New York firefighter and Rob is a former reserve deputy from Wapello County, Iowa. They both said faith and a love of the water brought them to the right place at the right time.
"I'm glad the outcome remains the same, that everybody is OK and Ed and I may run into each other and grab a cup of coffee or go fishing," said Goodman.