Vergennes teen acts quickly to save child

VERGENNES — Quick action by a Vergennes teenager may have saved a young child’s life on June 19.
Travis Kilburn, 19, was fishing at the Ferrisburgh Slang at about noon that day when a boy he estimated at about 6 or 7 years old slipped off a rock at the edge of a cement platform and fell into water roughly 11 feet deep next to the bridge there.
Kilburn, who has been fishing regularly for the past 10 years, reacted quickly.
“I jumped in and got him and pulled him to the shore,” he said.
Two other people there also came to their aid, Kilburn said, running over from the other side of the bridge and helping him and the child over a log along the shoreline.
Kilburn said he was fishing alone that day, and did not know the names of the other people who helped or the boy or his father. The child’s dad had just collected all their fishing gear to take it to their truck, and told the child he would be right back.
Kilburn, a 2010 Vergennes Union High School graduate who now operates a forklift at the Fedex warehouse in Williston, said what else he heard the father tell his son.
“His dad told him to be careful because he couldn’t swim,” he said.
Afterward, the man was extremely grateful that Kilburn had prevented a Father’s Day tragedy.
“He kept on thanking me,” Kilburn recalled.
Kilburn also briefly lost his fishing license in the process, although friends found it along the shoreline two days later. In the meantime, he went to City Hall in Vergennes to get a new license.
City Clerk Joan Devine waived the fee.
“I couldn’t bring myself to charge the young man the required $5 for a lost license after hearing what a hero he was,” Devine said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at andyk@addisonindependent.com.

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