Miley Doran, a 19-year-old from Co Carlow, received a Special Recognition Award during An Garda Síochána's National Garda Youth Awards last weekend after he rescued a mother and her daughter from drowning in 2021.
Miley was 17 years old when he was fishing on the banks of the River Barrow in Carlow town on Sunday, May 30, 2021, An Garda Síochána said.
He heard terrifying screams from a child, shouting that their mother and sister were drowning. The girl, Sophie Foley-Smith, then 13, had gone for a swim but got into difficulty, and when her mother, Stacey Foley, tried to save her, she also began struggling with the strength of the river’s current.
Without hesitation, Miley entered the water and rescued the young girl, pulling her to the bank. He then turned back to successfully rescue her mother.
Both were safe but shaken – very much aware of how different things could have been had Miley not quickly come to their aid.
Miley on the other hand, fired back on his jumper, gathered up his fishing tackle, and discreetly went off home that evening soaking wet. Miley’s family had no idea of his life-saving actions and only became aware of his bravery when Sophie’s grandmother took to social media to praise him.
He is naturally very modest but a remarkable advocate for the Irish Traveller Community who deserves every accolade and commands all our respect, An Garda Síochána added.
Miley Doran was 17 years old when he was fishing on the banks of the river Barrow in Carlow town on Sunday, May 30th...Posted by Garda Síochána Waterford/Kilkenny/Carlow on Saturday, November 4, 2023
After Miley made his big save in 2021, Ann Langton, Stacey’s mother, told local radio station KCLR that Miley “didn’t even think of his own safety, just got up and jumped straight in, brought my granddaughter to the river banks, and then went back for my daughter."
“He’s just our hero,” Ann said. “He’ll always, always be our hero. He has a special place in my heart, in their hearts.
“He should be rewarded. He had no second thoughts about it. He didn’t care about his own safety.”
Ann added: “All our family are more than grateful for him. He should be very proud of himself, and his family should be very proud, as I’m sure they are, of him.”
On Facebook, Ann's post thanking Miley went viral and has now been liked more than 3.8k times and shared more than 5.2k times.
On behalf of my DAUGHTER and GRANDDAUGHTER we would like to thank this young man Miley Doran for saving their lives...Posted by Ann Langton on Monday, May 31, 2021
Miley's mom Maggie didn't find out about her son's heroic deed until she happened upon Ann's Facebook post.
“What he’s done, I am so proud of him," Maggie said.
"If he wasn’t there, God knows what would have happened.
"He took the chance himself and he brought them out.
“He told me he was walking up the banks of the river and he heard screams from a child in the water. He went in and saved the little one and then had to go back in after to save the mother."
Miley also received much-deserved praise from his fellow members of Ireland's Traveller community:
This young Traveller man, Miley Doran, two young girls from drowning, and the media have decided to ignore this story.
Please share this so that those who have missed it can see what a real hero looks like. Well done Miley 👏 👏 👏 pic.twitter.com/SCwdGKTA5v— TravellersAgainstRacism (@TravellerRacism) June 1, 2021