GLOUCESTER COUNTY, Va. (WAVY) — Two Gloucester County firefighters are local heroes after they rescued a young girl when she fell into an ice retention pond over the holiday. 

On Dec. 29, Capt. Ashley Rowe and Firefighter AJ Hamilton rushed into the ice and frigid water to save the 12-year-old girl. The girl fell into the water as she played with her friend in the Patriots Walk Subdivision in Gloucester County.

The men didn’t hesitate or wait on the specialized rescue equipment that was on the way. 

“She was just screaming,” Rowe said. “Blood curl screaming, pleading for help. She thought she was going to die that day.”

“Eventually your body will get cold enough and will stop working,” said Firefighter AJ Hamilton. “You will get frostbite and hypothermia. And from there, your body starts to shut down and turns into an ice cube.” Paramedics treated the girls and they both survived the incident. 

Rowe and Hamilton were honored by the local Veterans of Foreign Wars Post.

They received the Medal of Valor’ and a letter of commendation from Gloucester Sheriff Darrell Warren. The Medal of Valor is given to those who perform above and beyond the call of duty at extreme personal risk and have been instrumental in saving someone’s life. 

“This is what we do for our community,” Rowe said. “But it is a great honor to be recognized for something like that.” 

“This is what we train to do,” said Hamilton. “But to be awarded that award was an unbelievable and amazing feeling.”

Rowe has been with the department for 20 years, and Hamilton has been a firefighter for 10 years.