When he's outside Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe, the popular water sports store he owns, Geoff Frank keeps a close ear on what's happening just feet from his back door on the Deschutes River. Frank and his employees are in the business of selling, renting and instructing people in the use of kayaks and canoes, but during the summer months, they've taken on an additional responsibility - listening for signs of distress near the Colorado Avenue bridge where floaters have in the past been known to find themselves in trouble.
In July of 2006, Frank then manager of the store, which has since been renamed-, heard screams coming from the spillway beneath the bridge and immediately ran to assist. Once at the bridge, he saw two young girls, their inner tubes tethered together with rope, stuck under the spillway. He cut the ropes with a knife he had on him, freeing the two, but then he realized there was another person - an elderly woman - submerged. Over the course of a few minutes, he struggled to keep her above water and eventually was able to free her. Without his efforts, the woman would almost certainly have died.
"I would do everything I can to help someone in the river," says Frank.
Owner, Tumalo Creek Kayak and Canoe