On May 9, 2021, Pensacola Police Officer Anthony Giorgio was off duty and enjoying a holiday at Johnson Beach with his family. As he was leaving, his mother alerted him to screaming and what appeared to be people in distress in the waters of the Gulf of Mexico. In response, Officer Giorgio immediately dropped his belongings and sprinted into the water.
At this time, the Gulf conditions were choppy with a very strong rip current. It was this dangerous rip current that the victims found themselves in while being pummeled by head-high waves. Officer Giorgio swam approximately 50 yards through strong currents and breaking waves to reach a struggling individual. Officer Giorgio swam him back to shore and upon arrival realized that this individual was in and out of consciousness, struggling to breathe, and vomiting water. He handed the victim over to off-duty medical personnel who happened to be at the beach.
Officer Giorgio then reentered the Gulf, and assisted by a second individual, he swam another child who was in distress back to shore where he turned the child over to medical personnel on the beach. Officer Giorgio then reentered the rough waters for a third time to assist with bringing in an adult who had initially tried to help the children but was now in trouble.
All in all, Officer Giorgio swam approximately 300 yards through rough surf and rip currents, half of that time rescuing individuals in distress and helping to swim them to back to shore. He ultimately saved the lives of three people. Officer Giorgio demonstrated great bravery and decisiveness while putting his life at risk to rescue three strangers from drowning.