North Ogden Resident Draydon Croston saved his mother MariJo Croston from drowning in the Weber River last summer. He was 13 years old last year when he was awarded a certificate and coin of Bravery by the North Ogden Police Department, and was chosen by the American Legion Auxiliary to receive a youth Hero award.
The situation shifted from fun to life-threatening when MariJo tried to exit the river but instead got swept away through a rough and rocky stretch of the river below Henefer. When the river swept her past the spot where the family planned to exit the river, Draydon saw the danger and immediately went to help. He said he didn’t want her out there by herself. She was having a hard time holding her head above the water but thankfully she managed to cling onto the tube. Draydon held on to his mother’s tube through the really rough water until he was finally able to reach out his long leg and grab onto a tree log with his foot to stop them. With the quick action that Draydon saw and acted on, MariJo luckily only sustained a broken rib, bruises, and cuts when the outcome could have been much worse. She and her husband are very thankful for his bravery.
“He’s a really easy going kid,” said MariJo. “He didn’t think twice about going after me in the river knowing no one else could. He was the only one still in a tube. The rest of our group had already made it out of the river.” Her husband Ryon jumped back into his tube as fast as he could when he realized she couldn’t stop. “He tried so hard to come and catch us, but we were going way too fast, he just couldn’t make it. He yelled after Dray “don’t let go Dray, please just don’t let go of your mom” over and over. I had actually yelled for Dray to let go of me because I didn’t want him to get sucked in also.” Thankfully he didn’t listen!
MariJo explained it was the scariest thing she has ever gone through. “I was so shook up, bruised, bleeding and sore. I couldn’t stop shaking and crying afterwards. My husband Ryon just held me and kept saying with complete shock in his voice “oh my goodness” he just kept hugging me tighter and didn’t let go. He yelled back to Dray as Dray was trying to get his tube out of the water, “thank you Dray, just thank you… for saving my wife”. As Dray’s step dad since age 8, he has always taught our boys respect, opening car doors for me & all females, and to honor their Priesthood – which is a part of our religion. We all feel so proud of him and know his responsible nature and his actions in life helped him to be calm and brave that day. He was, and is still so humble. Never once bragged about it, told anyone, needed recognition, or acted like he did anything out of the normal. He just said “I wasn’t going to leave my Mom out there by herself.” We are lucky to have such awesome kids.”
Draydon will be entering 10th grade at Weber High next year. He is the youngest in their family and he enjoys playing comp basketball for the Wasatch Front basketball club and he also loves soccer and golf. He enjoys working and earning money from their cotton candy business named “Fluff ‘N Stuff” and he is also a member of the National Honor Society.
Safety on the Water!
If you’re planning on going tubing in a river this summer, MariJo recommends having a good tube, not a cheap floatie that will pop on rocks or branches. “Wear water shoes, there are a lot of large rocks. It does get more intense at times than you think it will. Some areas are super chill and others are fast. Watch out for the tree branches you can run into on the sides. Make sure you are completely comfortable and can get on and off of a tube within a few seconds without holding onto anything. Stay in a group, don’t go ahead by yourself. Have your group hold on to each other the entire time. There is safety in numbers. Make sure you always wear a life jacket.” MariJo’s family goes boating almost every weekend in the summertime, and she grew up swimming. “I was actually a synchronized swimmer on a team growing up. I finished earning all of my swim badges by the time I was 10.” But none of that mattered when the current was moving so fast. Have fun out there, but more importantly, stay safe.