A 31-year-old man has been given an award from the Chisago County Sheriff for jumping into the St. Croix River this spring and saving 11-year-old Calvin Vang. The boy’s uncle drowned trying to rescue Calvin.
Ken Hawj jumped off a 30-foot cliff to get to Calvin, and pulled the boy to safety. Tou Hu Vang, Calvin’s uncle, was swept away by the flood waters and his body was found a week later.
WCCO-TV reports Hawj recognized the sacrifice of Tou Hu when he accepted his award, “Even though he didn’t survive, he is a hero,” Hawj said.
Sheriff Rick Duncan agreed when presenting the award at the July 16 Chisago County Board of Commissioners meeting. His statement read:
“On May 25, the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office received a call regarding a water rescue on the St. Croix River. Information at the time was that an 11-year old boy, Calvin Yang, had fallen into the river while he was fishing with his uncle on the riverbank. Tou Vang, the boy’s uncle, and Ken Hawj both jumped into the raging river to save the boy. Ken Hawj jumped off a 20-30 foot cliff and swam to the boy and pulled him to safety. Unfortunately, Tou Vang did not survive his heroic attempt to save his nephew. If it were not for the heroic actions of Ken Hawj, this event would have been even more tragic. It is an honor to present the Chisago County Sheriff’s Office Lifesaver Award to Ken Hawj.”