Groom takes plunge, rescues boy from lake during wedding photos

Clayton Cook didn't let the fact he was wearing a suit and taking wedding photos stop him from jumping into action Friday evening in Kitchener's Victoria Park after a little boy was pushed into the water.

Boy was pushed in by another child and struggling when Clay Cook jumped to water's edge and saved him

Clay Cook was waiting as his wedding photographer, Darren Hatt, took photos of his wife, Brittany Ross Cook, Friday evening in Kitchener's Victoria Park when he spotted a child struggling in the water. Cook jumped in and grabbed the boy. (Darren Hatt/Hatt Photography)

Brittany Ross Cook was smiling for her wedding photographer when she looked over to a pond at Victoria Park in Kitchener, Ont., and noticed her husband pulling a boy from the water.

Three children had been following the couple around Friday evening after their small ceremony, and Clay Cook was keeping an eye on them, because they were near the water, she said.

He turned to look at them as he waited for the photographer to need him for more photos and noticed one of the children missing.

"They were by the river and looking into the river, so Clay headed over there to check it out, and the kid was in the river, and the kids were pointing at him like, 'he can't swim,'" Ross Cook recalled.

"Clay jumped down and said, 'Reach for my hand,' and the kid just reached and Clay was just able to grab him and pull him right out."

Kids were playing

Ross Cook said she guessed the children to be between six and eight years old.

They were just having fun, she said, following the newlywed couple around and cheering for them.

"They were playing — they thought it was a game, and the girl pushing him into the water," she said. "I don't think they realized the severity of it."

The boy was soaked, but Cook was able to stay mostly dry because there was a ledge beside the water where he was able to stand to reach the boy.

An older girl came over after the boy was pulled out of the water and took him away, but Ross Cook said they didn't speak to any parents or adults. 

'What a super guy'

Cook's heroic act gained attention on the weekend after London photographer Darren Hatt posted a photo of the rescue to his Facebook page.

Hatt said when it happened, he was taking photos of Ross Cook and had his back to the water.

"The groom was just waiting patiently until he was called back in …. All of a sudden, the bride had shouted out," Hatt said.

He turned and, realizing what was happening, snapped a couple of quick shots.

Hatt has been a photographer for five years and said taking a photo like this one "is definitely a first."

More than 400 people have shared Hatt's post on Facebook and many commented on Cook's quick thinking.

"That makes for a truly special day. You've made a few parents somewhere incredibly grateful," one person wrote under the post.

"What a super guy. Stories to talk about on your 25th wedding anniversary," another person wrote.

Surprised by attention

"I do call him my hero husband now," Ross Cook said of Cook's actions.

Cook, who was at work Monday and unavailable for an interview, is a little surprised by the attention, she said.

"Clay's so humble to begin with that he didn't see it as a big deal," she said.

"Clay said he didn't even think about it, he just jumped into action. The kid's in the water, what are you going to do? You're going to pull him out."


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