In some professions, you never truly go off duty.

And fortunately for one 12-year-old boy from King, N.C., vacationing at the coast, one of those professions is nursing.

The preteen on that Saturday in early July wasn’t the only one on vacation at Holden Beach. Also enjoying the last few hours of their holiday were Christy Ollis, a nurse manager at Watauga Medical Center and Derek Gibson, a former flight nurse for Duke University Health System, when Ollis was first to respond to a boy being dragged to shore.

The boy wasn’t breathing and witnesses said that he had had been under the waves for about a minute — long enough, Ollis said, that death or permanent damage could have been the result.

Instead, the efforts of Ollis and Gibson, and a community of prayers and support, altered that course.

The boy’s mother later offered that what happened on the beach that day was a “miracle of biblical proportions.”

And she is right — thanks to two Good Samaritans who answered when duty called.

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