Northside seniors recognized for saving swimmer

Published 5:29 am Monday, October 20, 2008

By By KEVIN SCOTT CUTLER Lifestyles & Features Editor
PINETOWN — Anyone looking for clean cut, all-American, young men would be hard pressed to find better examples than William Boyd, Justin Montana and Michael Woolard.
Collectively, among the three Northside High School seniors you’ll find sports stars, a future Marine, an Eagle Scout and a dedicated community volunteer.
They are also heroes after saving a swimmer from drowning while vacationing on the Outer Banks this summer.
The young men were staying with the Montana family in a rented cottage on Ocracoke Island in mid-July when a day at the beach turned out to be a life-changing experience for them.
The young men knew they needed to help out any way they could. All three are certified in CPR and in the use of an automated external defibrillator
The rescued man, who was visiting North Carolina from Ohio, was out of breath after fighting a rip current.
The Northside students say they didn’t especially consider their actions heroic at the time.
The rest of the summer passed, and the young men didn’t give the incident much thought. They returned to Northside to begin their senior year, and one day they received notes from Marc Basnight, President Pro Tempore of the North Carolina Senate. Shortly afterward, each received a Certificate of Special Congressional Recognition from Representative Walter B. Jones, who called them “courageous young men.”
The young men say they are best friends and the experience has made them even closer.
In fact, Montana and Woolard have been buddies since fourth grade; they say they “adopted” Boyd when they met him as freshmen at Northside High School.
Montana currently works at Pungo District Hospital in Belhaven with emergency room admissions. He attends Beaver Dam Church of Christ and is an Eagle Scout with Troop 258 in Bath. At Northside, he plays soccer and is active in Skills USA and the science club. After high school, he plans to attend East Carolina University and study criminal justice.
Boyd will join the United States Marine Corps shortly after graduation next summer, a decision he made after his cousin Johnathan Kirk was killed while on active duty. Boyd is a member of the Sidney Volunteer Fire Department and is currently enrolled in a basic EMT class at Beaufort County Community College. At NHS, he is involved with the soccer program, Skills USA and the Ducks Unlimited chapter; he attends St. Clair’s Church of Christ.
Woolard hopes to attend East Carolina University or Campbell University with a goal of becoming a pharmacist. He attends Beaver Dam Church of Christ and is employed with Carmike Cinema in Washington. At Northside, he serves as president of Skills USA and the science club and treasurer of the Beta Club. A former football player, he intends to become active with the Panthers track team. Woolard was also selected to attend the Hugh O’Brian Leadership Seminar last year in recognition of his community service.