HARRIS COUNTY, Texas — As the La Porte community continues showing their support for a family whose siblings drowned Thursday in Galveston Bay, Harris County Commissioners are honoring the woman who saved the life of a fourth sibling.
"It was commending,” Veronika Alvarez said. “I really do feel more of a hero now than ever."
Because of Alvarez’s actions, a 10-year-old boy survived. Commissioners commended her during Tuesday’s meeting, calling her “a hero."
"I just knew that I had to save his life,” Alvarez said. “There wasn't any option to just stand there and not do anything."
The 24-year-old ran into the water after hearing her puppy barking and people screaming, nearly drowning herself.
"I know that your heart is heavy because you've been wanting to tell the parents that you wish you could have done more, but let me just say, if not for you, that family would have been very, very different,” said Commissioner Adrian Garcia, whose Precinct 2 includes Sylvan Beach Park.
The three siblings of the 10-year-old boy Alvarez saved – a 13-year-old girl and 11- and 7-year-old boys -- drowned during that family outing.
"When I heard the names, my heart just...it felt the sorrow,” Alvarez said. “I just feel like I could have done something, but like (commissioners) said, it's better to have done something than nothing."
In the days since, Alvarez said she went to Canyon Lake to relax and get over her fear of being in the water again, as well as seeing her nieces swim.
A staff member for Commissioner Garcia told KHOU 11 Tuesday their parks teams are reviewing policies and will be looking into expanding the Sylvan Beach lifeguard program beyond the weekends. However, because of the extra time it could take to hire more lifeguards, that staffer said there’s currently no target date for those changes.
ALSO POPULAR ON KHOU.COM